Maui News

Rain Garden Installation Planned at Wahikuli

March 7, 2013, 8:44 AM HST
* Updated March 7, 9:50 AM
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By Wendy Osher

A demonstration rain garden will be installed at Wahikuli Wayside Park on Maui as part of a partnership established between the Maui Department of Parks and Recreation, and the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative.

A rain garden is described as a strategically located, low-lying area planted with native vegetation that intercepts runoff so pollutants can be captured and filtered.

“It’s important that we integrate new ways to filter pollutants and increase water filtration to improver the health of coral reefs and the ocean, and rain gardens can help accomplish just that, by intercepting overland flow and improving the quality of runoff,” said Tova Callender, West Maui Watershed and Coastal Management Coordinator.

County officials say the technique is praised as being a low-tech, affordable means to mimic the way nature processes water, while reducing impacts of storm water on near-shore areas.


The Wahikuli rain garden will feature a variety of native plants donated by the Maui Department of Water Supply such as: Akulikuli, Pohuehue, Naio Papa, ‘Ilima Papa, and Dwarf Naupaka.


The installation will take place on Saturday March 16th. It will be preceded by a free rain garden classroom workshop, offering detailed information for landscapers, designers, maintenance care providers, and anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of rain gardens.

The workshop is scheduled to take place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 15, at the Lahaina Civic Center. A free hands-on training session that includes the installation of the demonstration garden will follow from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at Wahikuli Wayside Park.

The public is invited to attend either, or both sessions; with lunch to be provided for participants on Saturday.


“Our hope is that those who attend the workshop will be trained and inspired to create more rain gardens throughout Maui,” said Callender.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said there were once coastal marshlands on Maui that intercepted runoff before it damaged reefs. “That is one of the reasons why we approved the purchase of 64 acres of undeveloped coastal wetlands in Paukukalo and want to create miles of coastal parkland in West Maui,” said Mayor Arakawa.

“Maui County would not be the same without our coral reef ecosystem. This is one way that we can all work together to help keep that critical ecosystem healthy,” he said.

To register for the workshop or for more information, interested individuals can contact Watershed Coordinator Tova Callender at (808) 214-4239 or via email at: [email protected]

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