Seagrass Transplant 2 1000p

Summer interns assist in Seagrass Restoration Initiative

Mãlama Maunalua’s efforts to restore Maunalua Bay comprise a spectrum of environmental projects, including the restoration of the native Hawaiian seagrass Halophila hawaiiana, which used to be very dominant and once supported a diverse group of marine species in Maunlua Bay. However, the rapid growth of invasive alien algae turned the Bay from a healthy diverse environment to a mud flat.

Mãlama Maunalua’s two-pronged approach to restore Maunalua Bay begins with the removal of invasive algae followed by the re-establishment of native Hawaiian seagrass beds. The MM team alongside a consortium of experts has been working hard at understanding this seagrass (Halophila hawaiiana) and the best practices for successful transplantation.

This summer, Mālama Maunalua interns Chrislyn DeMattos, Maggie Elgin and Caroline Danforth have continued to create and test innovative ideas for transplanting native Hawaiian seagrass in the Paiko Restoration Area. Shown below are photos of one method they tested (use of a wooden frame to hold down transplanted seagrass).

If successful, their efforts will yield transplants that will join the flourishing beds of seagrass off in the sandbar and near the lagoon, which has been a positive sign for the restoration process.