Past Programs

Over the years, Malama Kai Foundation has worked closely with State and Federal agencies, the University of Hawaii, private businesses, and local communities to raise funds and carry out projects. Below are some of our past programs.


Citizen water quality monitoring

Good water quality is vital to Hawaii’s natural, cultural and economic resources. The quality of water can affect its suitability for drinking, recreation, wildlife, agriculture, and other everyday uses. Everyone has an important role in protecting water quality against pollutants such as sediments, bacteria, excess nutrients, metals, and other toxins.

Malama Kai Foundation has partnered with agencies, organizations, and volunteers to develop a water quality outreach program directed at both residents and visitors. These efforts included printed materials on water quality and its impacts on aquatic life; materials for use in hotels and cruise ships; and the development of an annual water quality monitoring event ("Snapshot Day") to engage citizen awareness.

In partnership with Project SEA-Link on Maui and with technical expertise from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, Malama Kai Foundation also develop a Hawaii Volunteer Water Quality Manual in 2009 with funding from the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The water quality manual protocols were tested with the assistance of two high school classes on Maui. Based on comments from the students, Malama Kai Foundation added more detail to the protocols provided by the manufacturers of the equipment we were testing. The grant also provided communities with simple water quality monitoring kits and monitoring probes.


monitoring for aquatic invasive species

Malama Kai Foundation received funding from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to engage regular beach and ocean users in long-term monitoring for aquatic invasive species (AIS) as part of a statewide citizen monitoring network to assist members of the Aquatic Species Committee in the early detection of AIS.

At the same time that this project was starting, a similar project to create a community-based reporting network for coral bleaching, disease and crown-of-thorn sea stars was being initiated by the Climate Change Local Action Strategy committee. Collaboration between these committees led to the creation of Eyes of the Reef, a community-based reporting network for the early detection of marine invasive species, coral bleaching, coral disease, and crown-of-thorns sea stars.


kauhola point coastal stewardship

From 2008-2011, Malama Kai Foundation received a grant from the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation to fine-tune its innovative strategies for cultivating and inspiring community-based coastal stewardship by the people who know an area best and visit it most frequently. In 2008, after meeting with several communities and visiting several potential sites for such a project, program coordinator Elizabeth Pickett selected Kauhola Point as the site for this process. Elizabeth worked closely with the North Kohala Community Access Group to get the project started.

Kauhola Point is an area that is significant to many people throughout North Kohala and beyond. Surfers, fishermen, kupuna, concerned citizens, and landowners have long been caring for the area in important ways. MKF’s process recognizes and honors these types of efforts, draws in and supports local youth to participate in stewardship, and offers additional information and resources to the community effort wherever possible. The Ocean Warriors program, which continues to be a thriving MKF environmental education program for local youth, was born out of the early days of this project.

Two years into the Kauhola stewardship effort, as the MKF project was becoming a model for growing recreationist-based and community-based coastal stewardship, 27 acres of adjacent coastal land went up for sale. Students in the Ocean Warriors program continued to learn from Kauhola Point, using it as a living classroom, as well as to lead community beach clean-up days as they had been doing. They also enthusiastically ramped up their efforts to protect the adjacent acreage by working in partnership with Trust for Public Land to raise funds to protect the area from development in perpetuity. Students in the Ocean Warriors program designed and sold bumper stickers and t-shirts and met with donors, assisting in a successful land protection effort. Surfers, fishers, Kohala residents, Maikai Kamamakani O Kohala, and the North Kohala Community Access Group all took part in this memorable and important community effort.