Maui News

Volunteer Cleanup Continues at “River Mouth” June 13

June 3, 2015, 7:43 PM HST
* Updated June 3, 7:44 PM
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Litter piles at the beach at 'River Mouth' in Paukūkalo. Photo credit: Mālama Maui Nui.

Litter piles at the beach at ‘River Mouth’ in Paukūkalo. Photo credit: Mālama Maui Nui.

By Maui Now Staff

The nonprofit environmental group Mālama Maui Nui continues its efforts to clean the coastline along the popular surf spot often referred to as “River Mouth” in Paukūkalo on Saturday, June 13 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The cleanup is the second at the site, following a successful event on May 30th in which about 60 volunteers spent four hours removing approximately 12 tons of debris from the beach area.

The cleanups are part of a larger effort that began earlier this year in coordination with the County of Maui, the Maui Police Department, and Mālama Maui Nui.

“We aim to have a strong presence in this area moving into the future,” said MMN Operations Manager Gabrielle Schuerger in an event announcement. “However, as a volunteer-driven organization, we depend heavily on the community to take action. It is thanks to our community network of conscious and hardworking individuals that we are able to keep Maui beautiful and healthy and we look forward to the continual building of these relationships in support of this site.”

Litter piles at the beach at 'River Mouth' in Paukūkalo. Photo credit: Mālama Maui Nui.

Litter piles at the beach at ‘River Mouth’ in Paukūkalo. Photo credit: Mālama Maui Nui.

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Event organizers say the success of the May 30th cleanup “speaks to the powerful effect the community can have when working together to care for the environment.”

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Organizers say that while litter and marine debris threaten many miles of Maui’s coastline, the “River Mouth” area in particular requires attention due to the important roles it plays in biological and cultural practices.

Skippy Hau, Aquatic Biologist for the DLNR/Division of Aquatic Resources, was among the volunteer crew for the May 30 cleanup and spoke to the group about the importance of maintaining clean water flow in the area.

The Wailuku River/’Īao Stream empties into the ocean via an estuary directly east of “River Mouth”, and is one of “the Four Waters” or Nā Wai ‘Ehā.

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Marine species like the ‘o‘opu (goby fish) and ‘opae (shrimp) depend on river mouths like this one to travel from their temporary ocean home back to fresh water to procreate. The health of nearshore life like limu and crustaceans also require clean fresh water entering the ocean to survive.

“Honoring the cultural connection of clean water flow mauka to makai for the remaining lo‘i (taro patches) situated in the West Maui Mountains is another reason why it is so crucial to maintain the “River Mouth” beach area litter-free,” organizers said.

Interested volunteers should contact Mālama Maui Nui directly for the June 13 event details by emailing [email protected] or by calling (808) 877-2524.

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