15 Jan Kupu Celebrates 10th Annual MLK Day of Service at Maunalua Bay

Volunteers Huki a Record 10,000 Pounds of Invasive Alien Algae from Bay

HONOLULU – Today, 180 volunteers joined Kupu for its 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of volunteer service at Maunalua Bay, in partnership with Mālama Maunalua and Pono Pacific. Volunteers of all ages helped huki or pull nearly 10,000 pounds of invasive alien algae from near shore waters of the Bay, approximately 10 times the amount pulled during an average community huki event.

“This is one of our favorite events each year because it’s an opportunity for us to gather the community and work together to mālama ‘āina,” said Kupu CEO John Leong. “We’re honored to partner with Mālama Maunalua and Pono Pacific this year to help beautify Hawai‘i Kai’s Maunalua Bay.”

Invasive alien algae have become one of the biggest threats to Maunalua Bay. Thriving in environments created by sediment buildup and pollutant runoff, non-native, invasive algae – Gorilla ogo, Leather mudweed and prickly seaweed – have become prevalent in the Bay, smothering coral reefs and killing near shore native marine ecosystems.

The invasive algae pulled today will be donated to local farms in Hawaiʻi Kai, where they will be recycled as soil amendment to improve soil quality.

“Mālama Maunalua hosts a few Community Huki each month, but this has been the biggest turnout we’ve had by far,” said Mālama Maunalua Executive Director Doug Harper. “The success of our organization is dependent on our volunteers and community support and we’re grateful to organizations like Kupu for supporting our efforts to restore Maunalua Bay.”

Sponsored in part by Locations Foundation, La Tour Café, Shaka Tea and Kona Brewing Company, the event also included information booths hosted by partners promoting ways to improve the environment, communities and personal well-being: Blue Zones Project, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), ‘Ewa Limu Project, Koolau Mountain Watershed Partnership and KUA.

Photo credit: Locations Foundation. For more photos from the event visit Kupu’s Facebook page.

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