Maunalua Bay is a treasured body of water, important for culture, livelihoods, and recreation.
The Maunalua Bay region stretches from Black Point (Kupikipikio) in the west to Portlock Point (Kawaihoa Point) in the east and to the summit of the Ko'olau Mountains. The region is approximately 28 mi2 in size and has eight miles of shoreline fronting the Bay. Maunalua Bay comprised about 6.5 mi2 of submerged waters. Ten watersheds feed into the Bay.
Over the last decades, the health of the Bay has declined due to a growing East O’ahu. One significant issue is how urban and storm water runoff flows directly into the Bay, untreated. The water that flows off roofs, over driveways and parking lots, and down streets into one of the region’s 5,000 storm drains brings sediment, garbage, pollutants and chemicals. Runoff threatens the biodiversity, natural resources, and the quality of life.
What's more, the extensive pavement means flooding for area residents is worse as less water is trapped or soaked up in the urban areas.
The Hawai’i Department of Health declared Maunalua Bay an impaired water body, meaning that levels of parameters tested exceed the State limits. Other scientific studies and resident knowledge also point to a damaged system.
Today's nearshore reef flat is dominated by invasive alien algae, a significant shift from the once sandy bottom with abundant native limu, seagrass, and coral. It is the uncontrolled influx of sediment and pollutants that allows the invasive alien algae to thrive.
We can control what flows into the Bay. Each individual in this community can take actions that will collectively mitigate urban/stormwater runoff issues and create a healthy urban environment while providing environmental, social, cultural, and economic benefits.
What is Green Infrastructure?
Green infrastructure is a system that helps to prevent runoff from urban development, and thereby minimizing the quantity of urban and stormwater and associated sediment, debris, and pollutants flowing our storm drain system.
How does it affect you?
Green infrastructure leads to many benefits:
Resilience from flooding
Improved water quality and ecosystem habitat
Reuse of water (lower water bills)
Growth of beautiful native landscapes
What can you do to help?
Join this campaign to learn how to install a rain garden or cistern for roof catchment, plant a tree, spread awareness, and more.