As a spearfisherman for more than 20 years, I've seen the downfall of Maui's reefs from a once abundant, pristine environment to now barren and dead covered in silt.
Maui's crown jewel of reefs resides at Olowalu, extending 3,000 feet out to sea. It is by far Maui's largest reef on the leeward side and still relatively healthy. What makes this reef unique is its formations and structures, making it ideal for juvenile reef fish recruitment - it's a nursery.
To hear now that Maui will develop the area mauka to this reef is a huge disappointment. I realize that Maui will grow in population, but why can't we find a different place to build? The urbanization of this area will take away low-lying areas needed as sink basins during times of heavy rains, development will reroute natural flows causing heavier runoff directly on to our best reef.
From LaPerouse all the way to Kahakuloa, there is no reef healthier than Olowalu - none that are so vast. Why are we so willing to sacrifice it?