What's in a rain garden?
Mālama Maunalua’s main goal is to restore and conserve Maunalua Bay. While direct action can be taken by removing invasive algae and performing other operations within the bay, MM also wants to protect the bay from what could enter its’ waters. Rain gardens help filter stormwater runoff before it enters our streams, reduce flooding, recharge groundwater aquifers, and provide a habitat for native wildlife. In turn there are less pollutants reaching the bay and less chances of major stormwater flooding events that could harm the inhabitants of Maunalua Bay.
A'ali'i (Dodonaea viscosa) is a shrub or tree that is very wind and drought resistant. A'ali'i have very deep tap roots that help keep the soil structured which reduces runoff and helps provide support for neighboring plants. When the soil is more structured we have less soil flooding into our streams and oceans (Photo Credit: Waikōloa Dry Forest Initiative).
Ōhi'a (Polymorpha red):
Ōhi'a (Metrosideros polymorpha) is a very resilient and culturally important plant in the Hawaiian Islands. Ōhi'a plays a crucial role in watershed protection and conservation due to its high water retention. After large storm events ōhi'a will retain water and prevent erosion and flooding that would normally create large runoff events (Photo Credit: Hawaii Magazine).
Ma'o hau hele:
Ma'o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is a shrub that is the official state flower of Hawai’i. It is also a federally recognized and listed endangered species. Planting native plants in rain gardens is key in helping restore a fully functioning ecosystem that is able to support and protect water sources (Photo Credit: A Native Hawaiian Garden).
Akulikuli (Sesuvium portulacastrum) is a crawling ground cover that is drought, wind, and salt tolerant. As a groundcover, Akulikuli helps prevent soil erosion by forming complex root systems in addition to helping filter and clear water of toxins and other unwanted materials. In a rain garden we want to help filter any stormwater runoff to ensure that once it reaches Maunalua Bay it will do less harm (Photo Credit: A Native Hawaiian Garden).