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Hui O Ka Wai Ola Reports on Six Years of Monitoring Maui’s Coastal Water Quality 2016-2022

February 1, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Water testing by HOKWO

How do you know the water off your favorite beach is clean enough to swim in? You have a group of volunteers to thank for that.  Prompted by caring for the health of our residents, visitors, and the culturally important and ecologically sensitive coral reefs off our shores,  Hui O Ka Wai Ola (the Hui) has been keeping track of changes in water quality on Maui since 2016.

To register (it’s FREE), visit https://bit.ly/HOKWOwebinar2023.

Learn more about the Hui water quality monitoring program, how the past year’s massive storms and brown water events affected water quality, and the new pesticide sampling project on a free Zoom webinar on Wed. February 1 at 5:30 pm, presented by Liz Yannell, the Hui’s Senior Team Leader.

The presentation is part of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s monthly Know Your Ocean Speaker Series, supported by the County of Maui. Admission is free, but advance reservations are required.

To reserve your spot, visit https://bit.ly/HOKWOwebinar2023.

In this month’s MNMRC Know Your Ocean Speaker Series talk, Liz Yannell, the Hui’s Senior Team Lead, speaks about water quality observations taken over the last year and looks at long-term trends from the past six years.  We’ll also hear about an ongoing collaborative project with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to evaluate pesticide contamination in waters along our coast.

The Hui O Ka Wai Ola is a volunteer-based water quality monitoring organization that is a partnership between MNMRC, The Nature Conservancy, and the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative. The Hui’s members include volunteers from diverse backgrounds like scientists and community organizations. The Hawaii Department of Health is mandated to monitor coastal water quality around the islands and encourages partnerships with groups such as the Hui to improve data about pollutants threatening coral reefs and human health.

The Hui’s culture of collaboration and a deep interest in ocean health made for a natural partnership with  NOAA’s NCCOS (National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science) carrying out the fieldwork needed for a research study to address a long-standing gap in our understanding of Maui’s water quality, “current use” pesticides. Current use pesticides are still legally in use for pest control vs those, like DDT, that are no longer on the market in the US. Current use pesticides are one class of chemicals that has long been overlooked here in Maui.  Pollutants in the water are typically measured by collecting a one-time “grab sample” (i.e. a bottle of water). While these can provide good information, especially when repeated over time, the drawback to using grab samples is that low-level pollutants can be missed.  Passive samplers that absorb chemicals in the environment over time can be used to sample for a longer period of time. This minimizes the likelihood of missing the presence of a pollutant.  In the current project, silicone bands will be used to soak up any pesticides in the water at eighteen nearshore reefs along leeward Maui. This work will provide a more comprehensive assessment of pesticide pollution in our coastal waters, and help guide pollution reduction actions if needed.


February 1, 2023
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm


Maui Nui Marine Resource Council


Zoom webinar
Reef in Brief

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