Petition Closed
1,100
Supporters

The Olowalu Reef: 1) is home to over 350 manta rays, the fourth largest resident population in the world; 2) has an economic value estimated over $54 milllion per year for Maui; 3) is one of the few black-tip reef shark nurseries in the State; 4) is one of only two remaining reefs in Maui with over 50% live coral cover; 5) has some of the largest old growth corals in the State, including some over 500 years old, 40 ft thick and over 23 ft in diameter; 6) is the first means of protection for our shorelines from storm surges and natural disasters; 7) provides the white sand for our beautiful beaches; 8) creates our popular surf breaks; 9) is the primary source of coral recruits for West Maui's reefs; and 10) has the best developed and most extensive micro-atoll area in the State.

A plan to build Olowalu Town will add 1,500 new homes and over 4,000 new residents to the watershed area uphill of our legacy reef, on the Olowalu watershed. If one thing history has shown us is the devastation a development can do to the adjacent reef. Maui's reefs are declining at an unprecendented rate, in large part due to coastal development which causes: 1) an increase in sediment and storm runoff that blankets and suffocates the underlying reef; 2) an incrase in pollutants from human waste causing devastating coral disease outbreaks; 3) an increase in nitrogen loads from fertilized landscapes igniting algae blooms that overtake our corals; and 4) excessive usage of the area for commercial, recreational, or fishing purposes that damage the corals and deplete the resources.

With your voice, we still have the ability to create a future in which we all benefit from the economic, recreational, and spiritual value provided by Maui's Crown Jewel. Please sign the petition and help educate our public officials about why it is so important to preserve the Olowalu reef for our well being and the future well-being of our children.

Letter to
Chair Maui County General Plan Committee Council Member Gladys C. Baisa
Senator Mazie Hirono
Senator Brian Schatz
and 21 others
State Senator Clayton Hee
State Representative Angus McKelvey
Representative Colleen Hanabusa
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
Hawaii State House
Hawaii State Senate
President of the United States
Representative Tulsi Gabbard
Governor Neil Abercrombie
Maui County Council Council Member Michael Victorino
Maui County Council Council Member Mike White
Maui County Council Council Member Don Couch
Maui County Council Council Member Robert Carroll
Maui County Council Council Member Joseph Pontanilla
Maui County Council Council Member Riki Hokama
Maui County Council Council Member Danny Mateo
Maui County Mayor Mayor Alan Arakawa
Director Maui County Planning Department William Spence
Maui County Clerks Office Maui County Clerks Office
Hawaii Governor
We respectfully request that you reconsider the urbanization of the Olowalu watershed area adjacent to the largest and healthiest coral reef system remaining in Maui by building Olowalu Town elsewhere.

The Olowalu Reef:

1) Is home to over 350 manta rays, the fourth largest resident population in the world

2) Has an economic value estimated over $54 million per year for Maui

3) Is one of the few black-tip reef shark nurseries in the State

4) Is one of only two remaining reefs in Maui with over 50% live coral cover

5) Has some of the largest old growth corals in the State, including some over 500 years old, 40 ft. thick and over 23 ft. in diameter

6) Is the first means of protection for our shorelines from storm surges and natural disasters

7) Provides the white sand for our beautiful beaches

8) Creates our popular surf breaks

9) Is the primary source of coral recruits for West Maui's reefs as well as south Molokai and north Lanai

10) Has the best developed and most extensive micro-atoll area in the State

If there is one thing that history has shown us in Maui is the devastation coastal development can have on the adjacent coral reef system. A proposal to build 1,500 new homes and over 4,000 new residents on the Olowalu watershed directly uphill from the Olowalu reef is very likely to cause us to lose our last, remaining healthy reef.

Maui’s reefs are declining at an unprecedented rate, primarily due to:

1) An increase in sediment and storm runoff that blankets and suffocates the underlying reef

2) An increase in pollutants from human waste causing devastating coral disease outbreaks

3) An increase in nitrogen loads from fertilized landscapes igniting algae blooms that overtake our corals

4) Excessive usage of the area for commercial, recreational, or extractive purposes that damage the corals and deplete the resources

The taxpaying citizens of Maui are also concerned with the added costs to build required infrastructure at Olowalu such as a new police station and a new firehouse and how that may take funds away from improvements or repairs in their neighborhood. The recent devastation on the East Coast is also a reminder of the consequences of building homes too close to the ocean, especially in a tsunami inundation zone, as is proposed for Olowalu. A large portion of the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure falls with the taxpayers.

Please consider the economic, recreational, protective, and spiritual benefits provided by the Olowalu Reef and protect Maui's Crown Jewel by building the town elsewhere. The town can be moved but the reef can’t, and once the reef is gone there is no way to bring it back.