This morning I went down to the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary this morning to do my volunteer water quality testing. I wasn’t surprised that they had canceled events as I had seen some of mess on Kihei Road yesterday and read the Maui News article this morning. Volunteers were just starting to show up to clean up the 3+” of mud in the parking lot as well as mud and water all over the floor of the education center. With 20 or so volunteers, the cleanup went quickly and 2 hours later, we all laughed while enjoying pizza. I was the only one that had a spill…I was helping carry out a piece of carpet when I started slipping…sliding…don’t resist…keep the carpet out of the mud…it seemed like I was in slow motion as I quickly ended up lying in the mud! Other than being covered with mud, I was fine. A quick shower at the beach shower (no beach…just a big gulch of mud) and I was back to work.
So what happened? It didn’t rain in Kihei the other night. This is a great example for people who visit and are interested in buying to know what flood zones are. The area along Kihei Road is made up of many flood plains and holding ponds. Just one quick look at a Google Terrain Map and you can see them. That dry stream becomes a roaring river fed by rains upcountry.
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When it rains upcountry, the streams rush and roar and spill thousands of gallons of mud, debris and garbage into the Kihei flood plains. I used to tell people that the 2007 storm was the storm of a century; I think I better revise that!
Flooding is a pretty natural thing since we have little infrastructure to manage or divert the flows. What isn’t natural is all the garbage that comes down with it. In a few cases, we hear about people who have had their porch near a gulch collapse and take stuff with it. But the unfortunate truth is that many people dump old stuff into gulches, thinking they will just breakdown. They might but the more likely scenario is that they get swept by rushing waters in the next big storm and tumble down the hillside and end up in the ocean. A friend of mine who works along Sugar Beach said the beach was littered yesterday with TV’s, plastic, 2×4’s and just about everything you can imagine. She said that the Maui County workers hauled away at least 4 huge truckloads of trash.
- Preserve our oceans, don’t dump trash where it will flow downhill.
- Be aware of flood areas. Get flood insurance and be prepared even if it isn’t raining.
- We are still thankful for the rain and no longer being in a drought
- When there is an issue, get out and help with community cleanup. Playing in the mud is fun!