Maui News

East Maui Group Celebrates 20 Years in Conservation

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By Wendy Osher

Partner Peter Baldwin (left) joins Don Reeser (middle) and Bruce Babbit (right), who are credited for their help in the creation of EMWP. Courtesy Photo.

The East Maui Watershed Partnership (EMWP) reaches a 20 year milestone this year, celebrating two decades of conservation efforts on the Valley Isle.

The group was established in 1991 to protect an estimated 100,000 acres along the windward slopes in East Maui.

The initial group was established to pool economic, technical, and human resources in a combined effort to protect the expansive watershed.

It was the first watershed partnership in the state and started with an agreement between landowners: East Maui Irrigation, Hana Ranch, Haleakalā National Park, Haleakalā Ranch, State Department of Land and Natural Resources, and The Nature Conservancy.


From this idea a total of 10 Watershed Partnerships now exist throughout the State of Hawaii.

Signing of memorandum (L to R; Doug Cameron, Meredith Ching, Don Reeser, Kalvin Takeda, Richard Haake, Libert Landgraf, Bill Paty). Courtesy Photo.

Since it’s inception, miles of fence have been built to protect more than 40,000 acres of managed East Maui Watershed lands from trampling by ungulates.

By building and maintaining fences, the group is helping to protect Maui’s native flora and fauna from habitat loss.

The East Maui Watershed is considered to be one of the most endangered forests in the world, serving the community as a source of water, culture and biodiversity.


Through the help of public and private grants, the EMWP has expanded and now employs 10 people.

The group’s first coordinator Alex Michalidis, was hired in 2002, followed by Jordan Jokiel in 2007, and current Program Manager, Randy Bartlett in 2010.

In addition to a field crew, the EMWP also has an Outreach and Education Liaison, Kat Lui, who was hired in 2003.

Lui helped to establish the agency’s first Mālama Wao Akua juried art exhibition, to help raise awareness and educate people about Maui’s native species that are not readily visible to the general public.


The juried exhibit returns for a seventh annual edition this year, opening Saturday, November 12 at the Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao, and remaining on display through December 8.

Talk Story Thursdays at the gallery will include discussion with environmental experts: Art Medeiros, coordinator of the Leeward Haleakalā Restoration Watershed Partnership on November 17; and EMWP’s Program Manager Randy Bartlett on December 1.


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