Restoring the Native Habitat

Mālama Maunalua implements strategies to remove and prevent regrowth of Invasive Alien Algae. The focus of our work is in the 28+ acres of Paiko beach. Our goal is to clear the area of harmful algae to restore a marine habitat with healthy, native seagrass and algae.

A Welcome Partnership with Pono Pacific

PP blunt ERSMālama Maunalua and Pono Pacific are excited to announce a new partnership to continue Mālama Maunalua’s community algae removal (“huki”) from the reef flat near Paikō Beach in Maunalua Bay. Our relationship dates to 2010 when both organizations partnered with The Nature Conservancy and together removed more than 3 million pounds of invasive leather mudweed algae during what became known as the “Great Huki.”

Our goal now is to engage the broader community in maintaining the great efforts of 2010 for the health of the Bay. Continuing research is showing that invasive species in the area are fewer than in years prior and that native species and marine life are returning, mainly in response to the many efforts our teams have taken.

We encourage everyone to take part in upcoming events and be a part of the positive changes occurring in our backyard.

The problem: Invasive Alien Algae

Invasive Alien Algae (IAA) are one of the greatest threats to Hawai’i’s coral reefs and nearshore marine ecosystems. These invasive, non-native marine algae species flourish off of an environment created by sediment and runoff from the land.  As IAA spreads, it grows over and smothers coral reefs and native algal communities, killing extensive areas of native habitat.

Three species of invasive algae are devastating Maunalua Bay: Gorilla Ogo (Gracilaria salicornia), Leather Mudweed (Avrainvillea amadelpha), and Prickly seaweed (Acanthophora spicifera).

great-huki-2010 June 19 FB Kanu HI Live Aloha Huki by Andrew Laurence IMG_0103

Huki Project

To date, one of Mālama Maunalua’s key initiatives in restoring the health of Maunalua Bay has involved removing invasive alien algae via regular volunteer-based hukis. Approximately 3,000 volunteers, including 1,000 students, participate in our 30+ community hukis every year, coming together to remove the Invasive Alien Algae (IAA) from Paiko beach. More than 3.5 million pounds have been removed and recycled as soil amendment at local farms. Even with schedule hukis several times a month, more volunteers are needed to help maintain the 1200 plots of IAA in Paiko beach. Mālama Maunalua leads an Adopt a Plot program in addition to the hukis where volunteers can help clear and maintain these plots on their own time.

Seagrass Restoration Initiative

The native Hawaiian seagrass Halophila hawaiiana used to be very dominant and once supported a diverse group of marine species. However, the rapid growth of invasive alien algae turned the Bay from a healthy diverse environment to a mud flat. Mālama Maunalua is currently working with consortium of experts in government, non-government, and academia who are working on ways to transplant the native seagrass into the areas that have been cleared from the hukis. Reestablishing the seagrass beds will take time; therefore, learning how to successfully transplant seagrass will speed up the restoration of the Bay.

Native seagrass

By the numbers

Over 3.5 million 
pounds of invasive alien algae removed;

volunteers who have pulled algae with us;

Over 28 
acres of the bay has been maintained or cleared;

the year Mālama Maunalua began removing algae from the bay



We at Mālama Maunalua owe so much of our accomplishments to our dedicated and hard-working volunteers. To date, Mālama Maunalua has engaged over 15,000 volunteers comprised of students, community members, and corporate employees for hukis, outreach events, and internship opportunities. Visit our Volunteer page to learn more and find out how you can become one of the many volunteers committed to restoring Maunalua Bay.