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EPA honors two Hawai'i groups as environmental heroes

Release Date: 4/21/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

HONOLULU -- At the agency's seventh annual Environmental Awards Ceremony today in San Francisco, U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Wayne Nastri honored two Hawai'i organizations in recognition of their efforts to protect and preserve the environment in 2004.

"The EPA applauds the outstanding achievements of these environmental heroes," said Nastri. "Thanks to their efforts, our air, water and land will be cleaner and safer for generations to come."

The EPA Region 9 Environmental Awards program acknowledges commitment and significant contributions to the environment in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and tribal lands. At today's ceremony, the EPA presented awards to 37 businesses, government officials, tribes, environmental organizations and citizen activists selected from a pool of more than 175 nominees.

The Hawai'i winners and basis for recognition are:

Malama Maha`ulepu Kilauea, Kauai

Malama Maha`ulepu has built on three decades of grassroots activism to protect and preserve the unique natural, cultural, and recreational resources of 2600 acres on the spectacular south shore of Kauai, Hawaii. Geologically, Maha`ulepu exhibits 5 million years of change from the oldest lava formations to substantial limestone deposits to sand dunes. Maha`ulepu is the island's last accessible, undeveloped, coastal area and home to rare fauna and endangered Hawaiian birds. Malama Maha`ulepu works to conserve this unique landscape. The organization has participated in Hawaiian Monk Seal watches to guard endangered seal pups, and conducted winter humpback whale counts as well as reef check ocean surveys. At the beach, dunes and headlands, it organized beach cleanups, tree plantings and maintenance projects as well as led educational tours of the area. Malama Mahaulepu continues to work with environmental and government officials on several levels to protect and preserve this precious wilderness area, which Hawaii Governor Cayetano added to the "string of pearls" wilderness coastal parks in 2002.

Living Machine at Four Seasons Hualalai David Chai, Morris Takushi, Jan Dill, Kona, HI

The Living Machine, an ecologically engineered technology, designed to replicate and boost the natural purification processes of streams, ponds and marshes works by using a host of living creatures that naturally restore and conserve point and nonpoint sources of pollution. The Living Machines harness the natural abilities of living organisms to maintain contained ecosystems; the organisms are able to self-organize, capture solar energy and concentrate nutrients which naturally decrease contaminants in a waterway. This distinctive eco-friendly technology is being used to maintain the 5th hole pond in the Hualalai golf course at the Four Seasons. The system is working so well that the pond is stocked with Pacific White Shrimp, oysters and fish that supply the resort restaurant with seafood.

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