The Maui Coastal Land Trust was established in 2001 with the mission to “preserve and protect the coastal lands of Maui Nui for the benefit of the natural environment and of current and future generations.” This non-profit organization works to safeguard Maui's shorelines, coastal landscapes, and cultural resources. The Maui Coastal Land Trust works to conserve land by acquiring land or conservation easements or assisting landowners in the acquisition of conservation land or easements. These easements limit any development potential and specify what can and cannot be done on a property. Since its inception, the trust has helped protect more than 15,000 acres of land.
In addition to conserving land, the trust is also striving to make coastlines more resilient to future tsunamis. To do this, they are creating a forest “biological shield” by planting some 15 different species of native trees and shrubs, endemic and introduced by Polynesia. The trust also received a two-year federal grant to support research on tsunamis and climate change in the Nu'u Refuge, a protected wetland environment covering 82 acres in Maui that serves as a resting stop for native birds traveling between the islands. The Coastal Land Program supports sustainable alternatives for coastal erosion management, including programs for beach and dune restoration and guidelines for other “flexible” coastal protection approaches through the DLNR's Coastal Erosion Management Plan (COEMAP).
The Coastal Land Program also supports the State of Hawaii Land Division through the Coastal Certification Program. The Maui Coastal Land Trust is devoted to preserving Maui's shorelines, coastal landscapes, and cultural resources for current and future generations. Through their efforts, they are helping to make coastlines more resistant to future tsunamis and supporting sustainable alternatives for coastal erosion management.