The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau (MVCB) is inviting the hospitality industry to take part in a new pilot
program from The Maui Reef Friendly Landscaping Coalition to implement chemical-free landscaping on a portion of their property. Led by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, this Coalition is comprised of the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau, Beyond Pesticides Hawaiʻi, West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative, Environmental Solutions Maui and the Chief Engineer at Royal Lāhainā Resort.
Participants in the free pilot program will receive ongoing consultation, soil sample analysis, and biological
amendment applications to improve the microbiology of the soil and reduce the need for irrigation, synthetic
fertilizers, and chemical pesticides and herbicides. Services will be provided over the course of a year, at no cost. The biological amendment used in the program is produced locally by Environmental Solutions Maui. The pilot program is funded by the Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) by MVCB through the
Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA).
“The Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan was initiated by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority and created by local steering committees on each island. Regenerative tourism is at the heart of these community-driven initiatives,” said Meagan DeGaia, destination manager, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau. “We’re thankful to be part of this coalition so that the DMAP can support this important work of reducing the hospitality industry’s ecological footprint in a way that the ahupua‘a (mountain to sea land division), kama‘āina (residents) and malihini (visitors) can all benefit.”
A similar Pilot Program, led by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (MNMRC), has been implemented at three test sites, including tee boxes at Mākena Golf and Beach Club, a small ballfield in Keopuolani Regional Park and a portion of a turf field owned by Wailea Community Association. Since the start of this pilot program, four rounds of biological amendment have been applied to turf landscapes at each site, allowing beneficial microbes to establish themselves and multiply. Intermediate soil samples have shown increased microbial activity, indicating the biological amendment is successful in establishing soil microbiology.
Additionally, in an effort to reduce their impact on the reef just offshore from the resorts, the Westin Maui Resort and Spa and The Royal Lāhainā Resort and Bungalows have changed their methods of landscape management, using little to no fertilizer as a nutrient source and have instead moved to biological applications once per year.
The Maui Reef Friendly Landscaping Coalition is now seeking additional participants in the program.
“Participating in the Maui Reef Friendly Landscaping Program is a great way for resorts to be a part of big change locally and globally,” said Jill Wirt, project manager with MNMRC. “When a resort transitions to reef-friendly landscaping, it will have positive effects on the health of their guests, Maui residents, aquifer, nearshore waters, and reef health, all at the same time."
For more information about the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, email Jill Wirt at [email protected].
MVCB’s participation in the Maui Reef Friendly Landscaping Coalition meets key Maui DMAP goals including:
● Action B: Initiate, fund and continue programs to protect the health of ocean, fresh water, land-based ecosystems, and biosecurity.
● Action B.4: Encourage and if needed provide incentives to visitor industry partners [to reduce ecological footprint.] Recognize those partners who have exceeded expectations.
For more information about the Maui Nui DMAP, email Meagan DeGaia at [email protected].
The Maui Nui DMAP is a community-based initiative of HTA, in partnership with the County of Maui and MVCB, aiming to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism as determined by the residents of Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i over the next three years. The focus is on stabilizing, recovering, and rebuilding the desired visitor industry on each island by addressing key issues surrounding tourism and mitigating visitor impacts in collaboration with lawmakers, the counties, and state and federal agencies.