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Donation Total: $100.00 One Time

Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has much to be thankful for as we look back over the last year. We celebrated 15 years of working to protect Maui’s nearshore environment, grew our program areas, started new projects, and much more. Below are some highlights from 2022.

Reef Friendly Landscaping
Our Reef Friendly landscaping program has made a lot of progress this year and has developed three branches that include our test plot project, certification program, and collaboration and outreach.

Success at one of the test plots

Our test plot program worked with County of Maui Parks and Recreation; Wailea Community Association; Mākena Golf and Beach Club; and Environmental Solutions Maui. With new funding, we hope to continue expanding those test plots to other properties around south Maui.

Our certification program certifies properties that are transitioning away from chemical and conventional landscaping practices to organic landscaping practices. We are currently working with Four Seasons Lānaʻi; Four Seasons Maui; Hyatt Regency Maui; Andaz; Wailea Beach Resort.

We also convened an expert working group on Maui, which evolved into another test plot program funded by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority Destination Management Action plan through the Maui Visitor’s and Convention Bureau.

Ungulate Fencing
MNMRC worked with Kaonoulu Ranch to have 1800 linear ft, or 1/3rd of a mile) of 8ft tall ungulate fencing installed running mauka to makai. This is in addition to extensive fencing efforts that the ranch and other partners are working together to install. Every little or big bit helps. This area is adjacent to gulches that contribute sediment and excess nutrients to the ocean when it rains.

Fencing is paired with active harvest of the axis deer from within the perimeters. The fencing helps control the herd movements to preferred areas and make harvesting easier. This combined effort will reduce erosion and allow grasses to regrow. An added bonus is that fire breaks can be made at the same time as the fencing is installed.

Pohakea and Maalaea
In early 2022 we completed our vetiver planting project in Pohakea, adding this drought-resistant grass to vulnerable erosion areas to mitigate sediment flow into Maalaea Bay during heavy rain events. On the makai side, our oyster bioremediation project is helping to clean the water in the bay. The oysters are showing promising growth, and with this growth comes the ability to filter more water – up to 50 gallons each day for an adult oyster. Three-thousand juvenile oysters were added in late 2022. All oysters are monitored every two weeks.

Juvenile oysters

Our oysters come from UH Hilo’s Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resource Center, where they are specifically bred as triploids, meaning they have a third set of chromosomes that helps to prohibit them from reproducing, and instead focusing their energy on growing big and filtering lots of water. This also helps make them safe to use in our waters as they don’t pose any threat to native species.

Our MNMRC staff will continue to monitor the oysters every 2 weeks and works with the State of Hawai’i for permits and harbor permissions.

Sunscreen
The new ban on non-mineral sunscreen took effect October 1, 2022, and after months of campaigning we were excited to see the ban go through. We are working with Dr. Craig Downs to determine the effectiveness of this ban. We took water samples from 5 Maui beaches in September before the ban went into effect, and we will do the same in 2023 to compare sunscreen chemical levels before and after the ban. If we see a decrease in the banned chemicals, we will know this type of legislation is effective, and if not, MNMRC and its partners will know that more public outreach is needed to decrease these contamination levels and protect our coral reef ecosystems.

AquaLink Buoys

AquaLink buoy in foreground

We have deployed 3 aqualink buoys in the ocean at Kihei near the cove, Ma’alaea Bay, and Olowalu. These telemetric buoys record ocean temperatures just below the surface and also at the same depth as most of our corals. We can watch this real-time data and know if there is a threat of a bleaching event. They also record wind and wave data at the surface. Best of all, this live data is available to the public anytime, at aqualink.org. We encourage all our water-user partners to take advantage of these conditions reports.

Hui o Ka Wai Ola
Hui o Ka Wai Ola is a community-based water quality monitoring program, launched and conducted by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy and West Maui Ridge to Reefs Initiative in partnership with the State of Hawaii Department of Health Clean Water Branch.

In 2022, 24 volunteers tested ocean water quality every 3 weeks at 29 locations in South and West Maui. That was 493 water samples this year!

Outreach and Education
With support from the County of Maui, MNMRC has been campaigning to visitors in order to educate them about marine life and conservation here on Maui.

This all starts when visitors first arrive here, with ads at the Kahului airport. These ads are 4 short videos that engage viewers and encourage them to respect the ocean here. They are played on the screens above the baggage claim carousels. Two of the ads encourage people to not hit or stand on the reefs, one is about mineral-only sunscreen, and the fourth educates viewers about properly maintaining distance when encountering sea turtles.

The ads are also promoted on our social media accounts, particularly Facebook and Instagram, and also on Spectrum tv.

We’re reaching a lot of people with these ads and getting a lot of great feedback from those who view them, especially visitors to the island. We’ve seen comments from viewers who were surprised to learn that corals are living animals, and that sea turtles are actually federally protected. 

Reef in Brief
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