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.