Hawai'i conservation alliance

2011 Conservation Innovation Award

Pono Pacific Land Management, LLC

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Pono Pacific Land Management, LLC (Pono Pacific) was founded in 2000 to assist conservation managers and landowners with the monumental task of protecting natural resources in Hawai'i and the pacific. Pono Pacific is a Hawaii-based, locally owned, SBA designated 8(a) company. Pono Pacific’s culture revolves around the Hawaiian word “pono” or doing what is right and living with integrity.

Their mission is: “to provide knowledgeable and reliable natural resource management services through which conservation managers and land owners can further increase the effectiveness of every dollar spent towards the improvement of our natural resources and the restoration of our ecosystems.”

Pono Pacific was contracted by The Nature Conservancy Hawai'i to remove 22 acres of alien algae (Avrainvillea amadelpha) from Maunalua Bay in East Oahu. This 3.4 million dollar ARRA funded project supports 50 full and part time crew members, daily hauling and disposal of the algae, monthly and quarterly reporting, extensive GPS/GIS use, and significant community involvement. The 12 month project not only completed the contracted work but did it ahead of schedule and under budget. More than 3 million pounds of algae was removed and Pono Pacific is continuing to remove algae beyond the contracted target with the funding saved.

The success of this effort has restored significant habitat area to a condition suitable for native fish, invertebrates and algae. An unexpected benefit is the restoration of natural water movement. The dense matting of algae actually delayed tidal affects by more than an hour. This severely degraded water movement and substrata condition. As a result of the algae removal, the community has noticed natural fauna (fish, algae and invertebrates returning to cleared areas and has hopes of a restored bay.

The marine invasive algae issue is a major management challenge in Hawai'i. This effort represents a major effort to provide a management tool to potentially control the invasive algae in Maunalua Bay and restore suitable conditions to allow some natural recovery. Pono Pacific has developed their capacity to achieve this huge task. They have adaptively improved their efficiency and assembled and managed an amazing staff team. They represent the professionalism, community engagement, accomplishment and the natural resource conservation innovation that we can all be proud to have in Hawai'i.