Preserving Maui's Coastal Land and Species: How the Maui Coastal Land Trust Safeguards Its Land and Wildlife

The Maui Coastal Land Trust is a non-profit organization devoted to protecting the land and species of Maui. Through a public-private partnership formed by the non-profit organization Hāna Ke Ao Haliʻi, Hawai'i Land Trust (HILT), the state DLNR and Maui County, the trust has been able to secure 33 acres in Mokae, phase 3 of 4, in this landscape-level protection effort. The lands are safeguarded forever with perpetual conservation easements maintained and supervised by the Hawaiʻi Land Trust. Conservation easements forbid subdivision and development, and are monitored and managed regularly by the Hawaii Land Trust and Maui County, guaranteeing permanent protection.

When the partners complete the fourth and final phase, all land will become the property of Ke Ao Haliʻi and will be permanently protected through conservation easements, a legal tool that restricts future land use and safeguards land conservation values. The land will be managed by Ke Ao Hāli'i with the help of the Hāna community and its support partners by implementing a land management plan that allows community access and cultural, subsistence, agricultural and recreational uses, while preserving the conservation values of the land. Scott Fisher is the Conservation Director of the Hawaii Islands Land Trust. Since 2003, he has worked for the Maui Coastal Land Trust, first as a project manager at the 277-acre Waihe'e coastal wetland and dune refuge. He is responsible for extracting sediment in places such as Nu`u Pond to extract and examine microfossils embedded in the sediment.

The trust also raises money from government sources and individuals to purchase land. The trust also works to guarantee that development is in line with the historical and cultural purposes of the land and defends the aloha 'āina values of deep love, respect and care for the land. When Hana Ranch Partners donated remaining parcels that were previously protected in the Hawai'i Land Trust's conservation easements, a public-private partnership was formed to celebrate this protection. The Maui Coastal Land Trust is devoted to protecting Maui's land and species for generations to come. Through their efforts, they are able to monitor their lands on a regular basis to make sure that they are being used in accordance with their conservation values. They are also able to acquire additional lands when needed to make sure that they are able to protect as much of Maui's natural beauty as possible.

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