High above the windswept cliffs of McGregor Point, a line of tall white windmills climbs up into the mists of Hanaula. The native Hawaiian forest is now the home of Kaheawa Wind Power, one of the largest wind farms in Hawai‘i.
Maui Cultural Lands was enlisted by owner First Wind to restore the area’s native habitat, which was disrupted by installation of the giant turbines. The wind farm, completed in 2012, has a total capacity of 51 MW and serves 18,700 homes.
With family history in the area since the 1970s, the Lindsey ‘ohana takes volunteers up the steep slopes every weekend to clear away the invasive species like ironwood, fireweed and molasses grass. These intruders are drought-tolerant and aggressive, choking out the natives and spreading over the hillsides. By removing them, we are able to plant a‘ali‘i, ‘ohia lehua, pili grass and other natives that once flourished in this windswept area.
Through steady work over the years, volunteers have been able to clear large areas of aggressive invasive species, resulting in the successful return of more than 24,000 native plants.
Ongoing stewardship of the area ensures that all the plants which were removed are returned to their native habitat. Our goal is to eradicate the alien threat and help the Hawaiian plants to thrive in as close to a pre-contact environment as possible.