Efforts to Protect a Precious Hawaii Marine Environment

Greg Chun
Greg Chun
Jeff Elston
Jeff Elston
Cindi Punihaole
Cindi Punihaole

KEAUHOU, Hawaii (KHNL) - It's a beautiful Big Island bay, that is in danger of being loved to death.

Kahaluu Bay is known for its natural beauty and abundant water life. "It is one of the few places in West hawaii that we have easy and safe access to the ocean and a unique coral resource." says Greg Chun with the Bishop Estates, the landowner of the popular Keauhou area on the Island of Hawaii.

Kahaluu Bay has become a popular place for locals and tourists alike to spend some time underwater.

"This is a beautiful place to snorkel, we heard a lot about it, so we made sure to check it out." says Jeff Elston, visiting from Florida.

But, adds Cindi Punihaole, with the Kohala Center, "Because this bay was so beautiful and a beautiful snorkeling bay, more and more people came."

The bay was in danger of being overrun by eager snorkelers getting too close to corals, fish and turtles.

"There are so many people who have never been in the water, never snorkeled." says Ken Pool, a bay volunteer.

But a volunteer project started just over a year ago by the Kohala Center is reaching and teaching visitors before they get in the water. "We're asking to please don't step on coral and watch your fins we're trying to protect the bay here." says Pool.

Corals provide the base of water life in this bay. Without them, the fish and other animals would disappear.

So along with informative signs and educational booths, volunteers are here every day of the week, sharing their knowledge and love of Kahaluu Bay.

Easily explaining to everyone how to have a safe and fun time in the water, while protecting this precious resource.

"Its probably one of the best snorkel beaches on island and if I can do my part to help, great! I think that's how most of us feel." adds Pool.

This effort is starting to pay off. Long time residents have seen positive changes to this place that was once facing a fight for its survival. "The bay has changed and its beautiful. There are little coral polyps growing, coming back." says Punihaole.