Algae Removal Generating New Bay Jobs
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.
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.