Al­gae Re­moval Gen­er­at­ing New Bay Jobs

MidWeek Islander (East Oahu) - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA GOOLSBY

Pono Pa­cific Land Man­age­ment has landed a con­tract with The Na­ture Con­ser­vancy to re­move in­va­sive al­gae from Mau­nalua Bay — a con­tract that has gen­er­ated 50 new jobs in ad­di­tion to the 25 jobs al­ready sup­ported by the project.

A tra­di­tional Hawai­ian bless­ing at the bay on Mon­day (March 1) kicked off the project, also known as “The Great Huki.”

“We are very pleased to be work­ing with a lo­cal con­ser­va­tion ser­vices com­pany to cre­ate jobs in Hawaii and put peo­ple to work restor­ing our vi­tal marine re­sources,” said Suzanne Case, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Con­ser­vancy’s Hawaii chap­ter.

The new jobs will last for about a year, af­ter which Pono Pa­cific in­tends to help work­ers find mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment in con­ser­va­tion or re­lated fields. Ac­cord­ing to TNC’s Eve­lyn Wight, ap­prox­i­mately 468 peo­ple ap­plied for the new po­si­tions within five days of their an­nounce­ment, and all of the po­si­tions have since been filled.

“We are ex­cited by this op­por­tu­nity to serve the com­mu­nity, stew­ard our nat­u­ral re­sources and cre­ate new jobs,” said Pono Pa­cific CEO

John Leong. “This project truly demon­strates what can hap­pen when every­one comes to­gether for a com­mon cause.” The com­pany also plans to work with the non­profit Pa­cific Gate­way Cen­ter to con­vert some of the al­gae to fer­til­izer us­ing “The Green Ma­chine.” The process turns the al­gae to liq­uid, pre­vent­ing re­pro­duc­tion and gen­er­at­ing rich, low-cost or­ganic fer­til­izer.

The anti-al­gae ef­fort is made pos­si­ble by a Amer­i­can Re­cov­ery and Rein­vest­ment Act award to TNC ( via the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion) in part­ner­ship with Malama Mau­nalua, for Mau­nalua Bay reef restora­tion. The stim­u­lus fund­ing for coastal habi­tat im­prove­ment scales up three years of vol­un­teer ef­forts to re­move in­va­sive al­gae (leather mud­weed) from the bay and en­ables th­ese groups to cre­ate jobs in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Photo by Mark An­der­son.

Bri­ana Kuni is Au­drey, and Vic­tor DeMarco Brown is Orin the den­tist in Kaimuki High School Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter’s ‘Lit­tle Shop of Hor­rors,’ show­ing this week­end. See page 2 for more about the pro­gram.

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