Life is Good
3 Million Pounds!
April 29th, 2011

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3 Million Pounds!

The Huki Project, funded by $3.4 million dollars of federal stimulus money, seemed to equal out to $1 per pound in cost to eradicate encroaching invasive algae choking native marine life off Oahu's shores. Nearly 3 million pounds of it was removed but hand, and here are the folks who met the challenge.  Even better, was the by product in recycling of the algae for it was turned into compost used to grow local vegetables.

The Huki Project was managed by the Nature Conservancy and the non-profit group Malama Maunalua with Pono Pacific. 50 new jobs were created, a native Hawaiian ecosystem has been saved, and friendships were made in the process.  Mahalo to Tony Miguel who documented part of the long process. If you'd like to know more about this program and programs like Huki contact the Nature Conservancy Hawaii.  For more green stories and more  green video visit us at

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4 Responses to “3 Million Pounds!”

  1. Doc Berry:

    The highly successful Huki project mirrors another community-schools initiative, the Kuleana Project, a water conservation, non-point source pollution project run by the non-profit community organization Malama O Manoa. Working with 900 families and children grades 3 through 12 in thirteen schools, MOM achieved significant reductions in water demand and pollution from yards and streets, pollution that ends up in shoreline waters. The project was funded by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, with an assist from the Hawaii Community Foundation. The environmental results yielded Malama O Manoa a major regional award from the Environmental Protection Agency.
    Hawaii needs more sustainability initiatives connecting the community, government agencies, schools, and non-profits.

  2. Mr. B:

    I'm very impressed with this project. These are very dedicated individuals doing a very unappealing job. I cannot imagine how one can make that work "fun". I mean, it's like pulling weeds in your yard, only thing is that you're in the water, and you're fully exposed to the wind and sun.

    One suggestion - why not let inmates do this work?? They already do roadside cleanups around the island. Why not let them do this? I bet the inmates would LOVE the opportunity to wade around in the ocean. Also, having them out in the ocean would make it much harder for the inmates to escape. And using inmate labor would be very, very cost-effective. Just a thought.


    Mr B.
    You have hit on a sensitive subject with me. I totally agree with your suggestion. In fact, please would you send a note to Sen. Willie Espero, to encourage programs such as this, as he has pro actively been seeking new approaches to Hawaii's very expensive public safety programs. We need to upgrade the status quo, save this state some money, reapportion those funds and spend them on early education, find real ways to rehabilitate not just incarcerate. It's been proven that a large % of people in prisons have reading differences. In other words, a good number of inmates were illiterate teens and/or undiagnosed dyslexics who became substance abusers for a host of reasons but they are growing up without real world skills, low self esteem, drug and alcohol addictions, and now welcome to America's prison population. Millions of adults are held in U.S. prisons. There are more people in U.S. jails than total prison population of all major European countries put together. Staggering fact.

    One has to ask why prisons, with such an idle population, do not institute work programs as you're suggesting. Why don't they grow their own food sources to defray that $42,000 you and I pay annually, per Hawaii inmate (more if they are shipped to Arizona and elsewhere) to keep them fed and sheltered? In fact they could be growing food and raising livestock for our greater community. It's done in other states but mostly by privatized prisons. 5 years ago I met with the founder of a privately owned California prison who initiated a health program where inmates themselves ultimately chose to become vegans and/or vegetarians based on their own experience seeing positive changes to their physical and mental performance. This prison also engaged the inmates in robust work programs, instituted a successful release program where they went into modest level jobs (versus floundering in the real world, feeling their years of failure drag them back down, and going back to drugs). This model program even provided temp housing that allowed inmates a chance to rebuild their lives when they were released, on fast food salaries. That prison's recidivism rates were low. But when this man offered to create a similar program on Oahu the then administration found flaws in his concept. Not sure why the admin felt the concept was not worthy.

    Thanks for the comment. Sorry for running on but when we produced the films on meth in Hawaii I had an opportunity to drill down, to learn and to observe. What appears on the surface is so much more. I had conversations with many incredibly informed people wanting to institute change in an antiquated system, wanting to see a system that actually rehabilitated people incarcerated mostly for drug related crimes.

  4. Tony Miguel:

    Hi, I shot and edited this piece. Nice to hear from you Doc- thanks again for all your help. Mr B- actually the Pono crew did have lots of fun doing their job. They told me they loved the work because they got to hang out with such great friends. And they really felt they were leaving a positive impact on the Hawaiian land. It struck me hanging out with the Pono Pacific crew the sense of family and community they all had. It goes to show you that if the sense of community and friendship is strong enough, you can overcome any obstacle, even if its picking 3 Million pounds of mudweed.