Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea selected as awardee of WSL PURE grant

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Recipients of the inaugural WSL PURE grant, organizations from South Africa, Brazil, California and here in Hawaii all have one thing in common: Connection to the ocean.

Local non-profit Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea has been educating residents and visitors since 2005, mainly on the marine life of the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District.

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As the area’s popularity grows, so do the threats of damaging its natural resources.

“Trampling, right, in the water,” says Jenny Yagodich, director of educational programs at Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea.

“People walking on stuff not realizing that its actual marine life trying to grow.  Or maybe those folks are introducing chemicals into the water in the form of sunscreens that are not healthy for our marine resources,” Yagodich said. “Sometimes, they’re creating paths were there are not paths so that leads to an increase in erosion.”

The WSL PURE grant will now allow the organization to work with the State to create management plans, but also to continue their Native Hawaiian plant coastal restoration project.

“We started to notice a definite decrease in coral health in the ocean,” says Yagodich.

“There are a lot of things that cause a decrease in coral health, and one of the things is erosion,” Yagodich said. “And had this bright idea that we should remove all the invasive weeds and shrubs and we should replace those with Native Hawaiian coastal plants that do a much better job at holding back erosion.”

She says there are things everyone can do to help.

“Educating people about best practices when they go into the ocean, about not stepping on things or tramping things, that’s a way to conserve our oceans,” says Yagodich.

All grant recipients were chosen because their work is in support of the WSL campaign “We Are One Ocean,” which is striving to protect and conserve at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030. 

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