Free November 3 presentation will share ocean water quality data from 29 Maui beaches and its impact on watershed management planning
KIHEI, HI — Every three weeks year-round, more than 20 Maui residents leave their homes in the early morning hours to help monitor the ocean water quality along the coasts of South and West Maui.
Carrying portable lab equipment in their cars, they work in small teams, wading knee deep into the ocean to gather water samples. Inital testing is completed in their cars, with additional testing taking place at indoor labs and at the University of Hawai‘i Manoa.
This unique volunteer-based program known as Hui O Ka Wai Ola (“Association Of The Living Waters”) has been gathering data in this way for five years, including through most of the Covid-19 pandemic.
What are they discovering about Mauiʻs coastal waters?
Learn more about this community-based effort and its findings at a free Zoom presentation on Wednesday, November 3 at 5:30 pm, hosted by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council as part of its “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series.”
The presentation will be conducted by Tiara Stark, Senior Team Lead of the Hui O Ka Wai Ola Program. Stark is responsible for overseeing all of the Hui O Ka Wai Ola water quality monitoring tasks and regularly accompanies the volunteers on their monitoring expeditions. She will describe the coastal water quality trends that Hui O Ka Wai Ola has identified, and explain how these findings are helping to drive watershed management actions in our community.
Starkʻs presentation will include a snapshot of the findings at each of the projects’ 29 monitoring locations, so that attendees will be able to learn the latest about ocean water quality at their favorite beaches.
Stark notes that almost all of the 29 locations where Hui O Ka Wai Ola monitors ocean water quality are failing to meet State of Hawai‘i Department of Health standards.
“This is frustrating to our community, because we all want clean ocean water for our shorelines,” says Stark. “But with all of the data weʻve been gathering, weʻve acquired important information about whatʻs likely happening upslope from the ocean in our watersheds thatʻs creating the problems that weʻre seeing.”
“The data weʻve gathered will help shape better management strategies for our watersheds with the aim of achieving cleaner ocean water to benefit our coral reefs, our nearshore fish populations and marine wildlife, and the people of Maui County who love being in and around the ocean,” says Stark.
Hui O Ka Wai Ola was co-founded in 2016 through a partnership of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy, and West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative.
The three organizations worked closely with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health Clean Water Branch to establish consistent protocols that would ensure that the Hui O Ka Wai Ola data would be readily accepted for reports by county, state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection.
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy, and West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative continue to manage the program together.
Learn more about Hui O Ka Wai Ola and how you can volunteer at www.huiokawaiola.com.
Presenter Tiara Stark