Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership

May 3, 2024

Mauna Kahālāwai

The Mauna Kahālāwai Partnership was established in 1998 through a voluntary alliance of state, county, and private landowners in a concerted effort to reverse the negative trend of forest degradation caused by threats like invasive species, human impacts, and wildfire.  Their goal is to protect forested watersheds, native ecosystems, and freshwater supply through collaborative forest management.

The team build fences, controls invasive species, monitors watershed health, and conducts public education to protect the native forests and watersheds of Mauna Kahalawai, the West Maui Mountains.

Rare, threatened, and endangered flora and fauna have a better chance at survival in these protected areas.

Healthy watersheds are blanketed by healthy native forests. In a pristine native forest, trees, shrubs, ferns, and mosses are intimately intertwined.  The many layers of vegetation capture moisture from fog and passing clouds and soak up falling rain. While some of this water gently flows over the surface of the land to be filtered into streams, the underground network of roots helps water percolate down through the soil and recharge our aquifers.

Maui’s forests are home to natural and cultural treasures found nowhere else in the world. While protecting these resources, Mauna Kahālāwai Partnership’s work helps to ensure a clean and continuous supply of freshwater for Maui.

waterfall, wai, mossy rocks

“Our goal is to protect the native forests that generate most of Maui’s water supply.  Healthy, intact native forests are giant living sponges that provide a sustainable source of freshwater for our island. ”

We have two volunteer stewardship sites:           Waiheʻe Ridge Trail and Olowalu Valley.

Since our first Waiheʻe Ridge Trail hike in November 2012, our dedicated volunteers have made huge strides in battling strawberry guava and other invasive species. We are now into native seed collection and out-planting while maintaining the fight against invasive species.

We initiated stewardship work in Olowalu Valley in 2016, but with a new burst of funding we are diving headlong into the restoration of the Olowalu Stream corridor.  While we are removing invasive species like kiawe and opiuma we are out-planting native species to restore the diverse ecosystem.


If you’re looking to volunteer as an individual, sign up to join the volunteer mailing list and get notified about their next opportunity!

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