A walk down the South Maui Shoreline

Rob Weltman and Ann Wallace walked the developed South Maui coast from North Kihei at the Maui Canoe Club to the square parking lot at Kanehena, both to enjoy the views and to see where coastal access is blocked. It is about 20 miles of white sandy beaches interspersed with scenic lava flows creating a series of small coves and long beaches.

Much of the South Maui coast is public access: state or county land. There are some spots that are impassable along the shoreline and a detour is required on a nearby road. Each section is full of interesting features and adventures.

Here are maps of the route, and photos taken along the way. Blocked access is indicated as orange lines.

Note: some sections described here may be less accessible at times due to tide or weather conditions.

All photos courtesy of Ann Wallace.








For Immediate Release: May 31, 2018

Contact: Lance D. Collins (808) 243-9292 lawyer@maui.net




KAHULUI, MAUI – The Sierra Club Maui Group and Maui Tomorrow are challenging Maui County and Anaergia Services’ proposed sludge farm and power plant along the Kahului shoreline by filing a lawsuit in Maui’s Environmental Court today. The groups are represented by attorney Lance D. Collins.

The groups challenge the County Environmental Management Director’s approval of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for Anaergia’s proposed sludge processing, energy generation, and biocrop growing/burning project. Under the proposal, sludge from wastewater treatment facilities at Kīhei, Lahaina, and the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility
(Kahului Wastewater Facility) would be trucked to a site at the Kahului Wastewater Facility and dried using methane gas byproducts of the anaerobic digestion of “biocrops” grown on 500 acres of former sugar cane lands, with additional energy from a propane burner. This process is also proposed to generate electricity for the Kahului Wastewater Facility.

The project was first proposed through a county procurement. Anaergia was the sole bidder in that process. Anaergia also currently holds a County waste-to energy landfill gas contract, which an independent auditor determined will cost the County $35 million more than anticipated when procured. The community groups challenge Anaergia’s preparation of the EIS, as opposed to the County, for reasons including the County’s unwritten policy of imposing less strict oversight over projects for which they have outside entities prepare an EIS.

The groups also challenged the failure to adequately consider sea level rise predictions. Maui Tomorrow Executive Director, Albert Perez commented, “Taxpayers should not be burdened with underwriting complicated science experiments that will only cost taxpayers more money and likely do nothing to protect the environment. Maui County needs to move forward, not backward, by getting the Kahului treatment facility out of the tsunami zone and away from sea level rise.”

The Kahului Wastewater Facility’s precarious location was specifically called out in the State’s Sea Level Rise Adaptation Report, published in December 2017. “Sierra Club is very much in favor of increasing the use of renewable energy, including in microgrids for specific purposes,” said Rob Weltman, president of Sierra Club Maui Group. “However, it must be done in a responsible way which does not result in new threats to our sensitive shoreline environment.”

The proposal will result in nearly 3,130 tons per year of dried sludge and nearly 30,000 tons per year of biocrop byproduct “digestate,” but the EIS does not indicate how the County will dispose of them.


Help Save Makena!

UPDATE: Temporary Success!

Let’s Keep the Momentum Going!

Mahalo to everyone who asked the Planning Commission to reject the Final Environmental Assessment (FEA) for 47 acre Makena Resort project. In all, there were:

  • 45+ people who sent in letters to the Planning Commission asking them to reject the FEA,
  • 30+ people who came out on January 10th to testify against the FEA,
  • 925+ people who signed the petition so far.

The Planning Commission has voted to defer their vote on whether to accept or reject this FEA, so it’s still possible they may accept it in the future. We’ll keep you posted as new developments occur! The Planning Commission will likely be re-hearing this issue within the next 3-6 months.

If you haven’t already signed the petition to the Planning Commission asking for a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement study to be done, click here to add your name.



Sign the Petition & Testify at January 10th Planning Commission Meeting

On Tuesday, January 10th, the Maui Planning Commission will decide whether to approve the Makena Development Resort’s Final Environmental Assessment (FEA), which claims the 47 acre development will have NO significant impact on the area, despite the fact that the site is full of environmental and cultural treasures. In addition, the 47 acre development is very clearly just one small part of a much larger 1,800 development project that is being planned for Makena by the land owners.

We want the Planning Commission to REJECT this Final Environmental Assessment for the 47 acre project and instead require a much more thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be done for the entire 1,800 acres. An EIS will examine 1) exactly how this project will negatively impact the surrounding environment, and 2) how to mitigate these impacts before any final development plans are put in place and construction starts.


1) Click here to sign the petition to the Planning Commission.

2) Email the Planning Commission by Monday the 9th asking them to reject the Final Environmental Assessment and instead require an Environmental Impact Statement. Make sure to say you are writing about item C-1 on the Maui Planning Commission January 10, 2017 agenda. Send your email to planning@mauicounty.gov

3) Testify in person at the Planning Commission meeting – Tuesday the 10th at 9 am in the Planning Department Conference Room, First Floor – 250 South High Street, Wailuku. They need to hear the voices of Makena residents and how building at Makena Landing will negatively affect families, cultural rights and access, and our environment. Please be RESPECTFUL of the Planning Commissioners. They are volunteers who are giving their time for the community.


Maui Group Victory! 160 Acres Protected from Development in Wailea

October 26, 2016

Settlement Leads to Protection of Culturally and Environmentally Sensitive Land at Honua’ula

(Joint Press Release of Sierra Club, Maui Unite and Honua’ula Partners, LLC)


After more than three years of extensive negotiations, environmental and cultural groups, Sierra Club and Maui Unite, have entered into a settlement agreement with developer Honua’ula Partners, LLC and the County of Maui.  The settlement calls for the protection of over 160 acres of land containing ancient Hawaiian villages, boundary markers and site complexes, as well as rare and endangered plants and animals.  The settlement also includes protection of portions of the historic Kanaio-Kalama Road, specific access rights for cultural practitioners and the public, a reduction in the size of the originally proposed eighteen-hole golf course, a deer fence to protect endangered plants, and a conservation easement over the protected lands to be held by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.  Another key feature of the agreement is a 116-foot wide buffer along the boundary with Maui Meadows, a one-acre public park located adjacent to the buffer, as well as height limits on certain structures in areas adjacent to the Maui Meadows buffer.  Other parts of the agreement call for preserved areas to be turned over to a nonprofit group in the future.

The settlement agreement between the parties stems from a claim filed in 2012 that challenged the environmental impact statement that had been prepared by the developer and accepted by the county in conjunction with a proposed 1,400 unit development in Wailea on a 670-acre property near the south end of Pi’ilani Highway.

The project, which was initially referred to as “Wailea 670,” was approved by the Maui County Council in 2008 for single family and multi-family units, a range of commercial and other mixed uses, and a golf course.  The County Council placed a number of conditions on the development, for the protection of culturally and environmentally sensitive areas – including a “native plant preservation area” of not less than 18 acres and not more than 130 acres.

Through their claim, Sierra Club and Maui Unite contended among other things that the developer’s environmental impact statement had failed to adequately address the extent of the cultural and archaeological sites and features located on the property.  During the protracted settlement negotiations, the developer agreed to conduct further archaeological work.  The archaeologists have confirmed that hundreds of significant archaeological sites or features are located on the property, including ceremonial sites, stepping stone trails, living quarters and farming terraces.  Most of these sites are now confirmed for perpetual protection.

The claimants also contended in their lawsuit that the EIS failed to address the impacts associated with the 250 affordable housing units that were required to be constructed off-site, at the proposed Kaonoulu Light Industrial Subdivision located on the mauka side of Pi’ilani Highway in North Kihei, which has been the subject of another land use claim.  As a result of the settlement, the claimants have agreed that the developer may seek to obtain approval from the County Council to amend the original Wailea 670 project district ordinance to permit the affordable housing to be located either at the Kaonoulu site or at the Honua’ula site, or a combination of both sites.

Certain parts of the settlement agreement are contingent upon the developer obtaining additional approvals from the Maui Planning Commission and on the developer actually proceeding forward with the project as originally approved.


Testify for funds to buy Peahi open space area


Don’t let A&B sell this land for development.  Testify in favor of buying the 267 acre Hamakualoa Coast open space-  from Kuiaha to Peahi

 Need more funding!
What: Mayor’s 2017 Budget Meeting
When/Where: two opportunities to speak up
• Tuesday Sept 29 Ha’iku Community Center, Hana Hwy Ha’iku  5:30 pm
• Wed Sept 30  Tavares Center in Pukalani   5:30 pm
Why: the 2016 budget only has $3 million to purchase the 266 acres (over $10 million needed!)
 2017 budget needs to have more funds put towards the purchase.
The Mayor needs to know the people care!
Talking points:
We need to let the mayor know:
1) there is broad public support for this project and for the County Open Space Fund
2) the public supports long range planning for public/community ownership for all the coastal lands from Puniawa ( K-Bay) to Peahi point  (see map)
3) County should start with the 4 lots (267 ac) already proposed, and open discussion w/ A&B on the other two lots.
4) the 267 acres are important place for our Kupuna and should be protected to give them a place to pass on traditional knowledge of many cultures.
5)  there are many groups who want to put the lands to good use and help serve community needs (farming; trails; cultural education;  camping area for youth programs, green cemetery, surf contest access and community use.
6)  The Hamakualoa  lands could be a model of a large publicly managed land area that can generate income for its own upkeep
WHAT HAPPENS: Each budget hearing allows citizens to tell go up to a table where the mayor and his department heads are sitting and support items that should be in the next County budget.
It’s easy.
A group can go up together with one spokesperson, or you can go up as one person.
Be sure to go to the table where the Mayor and Managing director are.
Can’t come? Written testimony can be sent to:   budget.office@co.maui.hi.us
One of the lots has already been sold.  Don’t let this turn into another Palauea where we lose our chance to preserve shoreline for the public.

How to report muddy runoff

Is the ocean water near you brown from runoff and sedimentation?

Would you like to help document what’s going on via citizen science efforts? The community-based Turbidity Task Force on Maui is a way to do so…

It’s really simple… grab a sample of water, collect some information, and bring it to the Killa Wiffa Surf Shop in Honokowai (West Maui) or the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (South Maui, 726 South Kihei Rd), where trained water quality monitoring volunteers can read the sample using the turbidity meters housed there and upload the data to the Coral Reef Monitoring Data Portal (http://monitoring.coral.org).

You can download the Turbidity Task Force form from http://monitoring.coral.org/resources/download

How to take a sample for the Turbidity Task Force:

Water Sampling Instructions (can be downloaded from: http://monitoring.coral.org/resources/survey_help)

  1. Safety First – Do not trespass, enter rough surf or fast moving water
  2. Keep samples on ice or refrigerate (?4degrees C).
  3. Within 40 hours of sample collection, bring to a meter station for reading, recording and entry into the Coral Reef Monitoring Data Portal-http://monitoring.coral.org/about
  4. Record Location (Example: Honolua Bay rivermouth); full name and phone number
  5. Observe water body and shoreline or stream bank;
  6. Position yourself on shore or in water with sample vial opening facing opposite direction of water movement (facing upstream/up current of your body)
    1. For in water sampling, hold vial in water at desired depth (surface, 2/3 or 1/3 of total depth), remove cap and completely fill vial with no bubbles.  Recap at sampling depth
    2. From shore or bank sample surface only, remove cap prior to dipping vial into water at the surface
    3. If sampling a source of water entering a water body (stream, etc.) take two additional samples up and down flow from source

7. Fill out Chain of Custody Record: Bottle number, sample site, date, time, type of water (example Ocean, stream,  pond, storm runoff)

8. Provide a sketch or written description of sample location

9. Keep chain of custody and other kit materials with sample, if you give it to someone else to deliver, fill out the sample transfer form.

10.   Please return reusable kit including instructions to the meter station and pick up a new kit for next time

The Turbidity Task Force is a community-based monitoring program sponsored by The Save Honolua Coalition, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council and partners including Aquanimity Now, Coral Reef Alliance, Digital Bus, Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in cooperation with local community groups.

Documenting Runoff & Sedimentation Events:

Keep a log with dates and times of observations – rainfall, water levels, stream flow changes, color of stream, presence of debris, etc (See the visual assessment protocol for ideas)

Take photos of upstream and downstream.  If there is a tributary flow (contributing stream from natural streams or roads, driveways, sites etc,) take pictures of the stream upstream of it entering and downstream.

Take actual measurements of water lines, debris lines, mudlines, when it is safe to;  before the forensic evidence disappears.  A picture of a mud or water line with a ruler or tape in the picture is best.  Pictures with recorded measurements also good.


Honolua Bay during a sedimentation event, May 17, 2005 (however it looks just like this now, 12/14/11)

Honolua Bay during a sedimentation event, May 17, 2005 (however it looks just like this now, 12/14/11)

SC Comments on Maui Endangered Species Listing

RE: Updated information on locations of ‘awikiwiki (Canavalia pubescens) to consider as part of listing 38 Species on Molokai, Lanai, and Maui as Endangered, Final Rule; and designation of Critical Habitat.

Read more