From ridge to reef

Maui is the second-largest island in Hawai‘i with beautiful but endangered reefs that are precious to local residents and the tourist economy.

In West Maui, our work focuses on restoring natural filtration processes within watersheds to prevent land-based water pollution from degrading reefs. High levels of sediment runoff can reduce corals’ access to sunlight by smothering them, negatively impacting reef health. High nutrients cause algal blooms which can overtake coral and promote coral disease. We take a “ridge to reef” approach to restore the natural function of an ahupua‘a (watershed) to filter stormwater and absorb nutrients, sediments and other chemicals.

At the shoreline

In coastal areas, we provide guidance to shoreline property owners, the tourism industry and Maui County on how to implement reef-friendly landscaping design which naturally filters stormwater before it reaches the ocean.

Mauka Lands

On the mauka (mountain), our work focuses on stream restoration to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients flowing into the ocean. We are working with farmers, Hawaiian communities, local nonprofits, private businesses, and the government to pilot stream restoration techniques that combine modern technology with native vegetation and traditional agricultural practices. To increase filtration processes in and around stream beds, we are re-establishing native vegetation and taking lessons from Hawaiʻi’s long history of traditional agricultural practices. We are also planting deep-rooted vetiver grasses, which trap and stabilize sediments and enable native vegetation to thrive.

Recent News

Using Native Plants to Protect Coral Reefs

In West Maui, Hawai‘i, CORAL’s Senior Program Manager Jennifer Vander Veur shares how our actions on land can impact what happens under the sea. Run-off sediment is threatening nearby coral reefs and making it harder for them to survive. To address this problem, Vander Veur leads our efforts to protect coral reefs by using native… Continue Reading →

coastline in maui hawaii

CORAL Joins Maui Nui Makai Network

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is honored to join the Maui Nui Makai Network—a network of community groups from across Maui Nui that protect and care for marine and coastal ecosystems. The network was established in 2013 when community organizations decided they would be stronger working together than separately. Network members meet regularly to learn… Continue Reading →

Dirt road waiting to be restored in Maui, Hawaii

Talking Story About Maui’s Coral Reefs

Last month, we were honored to be selected by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) as a recipient of the Coral Reef Conservation Fund grant, our second in as many years.  The grant supports our restoration projects in West Maui, Hawai‘i where we’re planting native plants along stream banks and degraded agricultural lands to… Continue Reading →

Plant a Tree, Save a Coral

Jen Vander Veur is fighting an uphill battle to save coral reefs on the slopes of West Maui’s mountains. Jen is CORAL’s Program Manager in Maui, and she’s leading the charge on restoring Maui’s once lush forest to stabilize the soil and protect coral reefs downstream from being smothered by sediment, reversing the effects of… Continue Reading →

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Learn more about our work on the ground and in the water in Maui.

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