Work launches effort to improve ocean health

A bare hill in Hanakaoo Cemetery that once sent red dust into the air and red water into the ocean is home to more than 1,000 native plants, thanks to a campaign launched June 9 and scores of volunteers that came out to make a difference for West Maui.

“We transformed the cemetery slope into something green and alive. It feels good to be a part of this,” said volunteer Wendy Macaheleg, a heavy equipment operator who grew up paddling at Canoe Beach about 100 yards away from the planting site.

The plantings are intended to beautify the site and to stabilize the hillside to reduce the amount of runoff reaching the ocean via Wahikuli Gulch.

The planting event also launched the West Maui Kumuwai campaign, which organizers said is a movement to protect the ocean through personal action and community collaboration.

Partners and sponsors of the planting event included Parsons Construction, Kaanapali Operators Association, Convergent Conservation, Native Nursery, Maui Cultural Lands, County of Maui, CJ’s Deli and Diner, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Irrigation Systems Inc., Maui Service Rentals and the state Division of Aquatic Resources.

For more information, visit or call Tova Callender at 214-4239.