Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s Reef Friendly Landscaping Certification Program announced its first fully accredited resort partner, Four Seasons Resort Lana’i.
The resort was awarded Gold Certification for its new efforts to manage the property grounds organically. The Gold Level requires properties to have at least one member of the landscaping team become an accredited organic landcare professional through the Northeast Organic Farming Association, and document and report all “emergency use” chemicals in case of a pest infestation or outbreak.
“We are committed to building upon Four Seasons’ strong history of supporting our communities and the environment, leaving a positive, long-lasting impact on the storied places where we operate and live,” said General Manager Alastair McAlpine. “Protecting Lanai’s native ecosystem and championing ongoing sustainability efforts across our island is an honor as is becoming the first resort to achieve this accreditation, a true testament to the hard work of our landscaping team.”
The Reef Friendly Landscaping Program aims to prevent polluted runoff originating from the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides from resorts, golf courses, businesses, and residential areas.
Research has shown that traditional pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers can negatively impact marine ecosystems, through coral bleaching and developmental issues in juvenile corals and fish. Additionally, they can cause cancerous growths in sea turtles and other marine life, the news release said.
Nonprofit Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, in partnership with Duane Sparkman, worked with Robert Woodman, director of landscaping at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
Woodman has been leading the landscaping team for seven years, managing 12 densely planted acres of gardens and incorporating a number of native Hawaiian plants, according to the news release.
He focused on plants that were less water and labor intensive and those that can thrive in the specific microclimate on Lanai at Hulopo’e Bay.
Some of the resort’s Environment, Social, and Governance or ESG efforts on the property include elimination of single-use plastic bathroom amenities, food waste diverted from landfill and donated to local farmers for agricultural use, water-efficient landscaping and golf course management, waters off the coast have been declared a marine reserve to promote resilience in the reef, and complimentary reef friendly suncare products available for guests.
MNMRC launched their RFL Certification program in early 2022, and have been assisting the resort with their transition since August 2022. The program requires properties to stop the use of all pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers that are harmful to aquatic and marine life, with the opportunity to go one step further and implement 100 percent organic landscaping, the news release said.
For a free property assessment and recommendations to pursue an RFL Certification, contact [email protected] or visit www.mauireefs.org/what-we-do/reeffriendly-landscaping/.