Kanahā Beach Park Restoration
More than Just a Park…
Without a doubt, Kanahā Beach Park is a favorite on Maui–for recreational and environmental reasons. The wide variety of activities offered to families, wind and water sport enthusiasts, make this beach a particularly well-used area. Unfortunately, with lots of human activity often comes environmental damage.
Kanahā Beach is composed of low-lying wetlands areas and coastal dunes, and is the home of numerous native coastal plants, birds, insects, fish and other marine life, some of which are categorized as rare and/or endangered. The dunes help protect and assist the wetland areas in providing ecosystem benefits including flood protection, sediment filtration, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, as well as recreational and aesthetic qualities.
Numerous variables threaten the health of Kanahā Beach, including pollution (i.e. trash, agricultural runoff, waste water, contaminated storm water, etc.), development, invasive plants, non-native fish, and other non-native predators such as cats, mongoose, cane toads, and bullfrogs.
Mālama Maui Nui recognizes this park as one of the most popular and beloved in the County. Since 1999, MMN has participated in the large-scale restoration of this 88-acre coastal area. The accomplishments over the years include the removal of over 800,000 pounds of invasive plants (mainly kiawe, Christmas berry, plucchea, and invasive grasses) and the installation of 1,700 feet of post-and-rail barrier to deter road vehicles from driving onto sand dunes and destroying the natural habitat of native plants (see photo).
Several large scale outplantings of native species have taken place that extend from the water treatment facility into Ka‘a Point and down to the camping area. These efforts have been conducted primarily in partnership with Ho‘olawa Farms, Forrest & Kim Starr of USGS, Mike Perry, and MMN staff and volunteers. The plantings are a part of a continual restoration plan to secure sand dunes from eroding and promote the establishment of native Hawaiian plants and the removal of invasive species at Kanahā.
Currently, volunteer efforts focus on removing litter and invasive species from the park and its wetland areas. If you value Kanahā as one of your favorite spots on Maui, we encourage you to take action where you see the need — we can help you along the way!