Hawaii Department of Health Awards $38,536 to the County of Maui for Coastal Water Quality Monitoring

MA’ALAEA, MAUI, HI – The State Department of Health Clean Water Branch has awarded the County of Maui, Office of Climate Change, Resiliency, and Sustainability (CCRS) $38,536 in federal funding to support coastal water quality monitoring. CCRS will administer the funds as a grant to Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. The grant will support the work of Hui O Ka Wai Ola, a community-based ocean water quality monitoring program managed by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council,  in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, and West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative.

The purpose of the coastal water quality monitoring is to support watershed management activities in seven watersheds in west and southwest Maui. In each of these areas, implementation projects are underway to address sources of land-based pollution, making continuous coastal water quality monitoring critical to guiding actions and understanding the impact of mitigation measures taken.

Hui O Ka Wai Ola (the “association of living waters”) is a community-based water quality monitoring program co-founded in 2018 and co-managed through a partnership of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy, and West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative. “Our testing, which takes place every three weeks at 29 locations along Maui’s south and west coasts, keeps a close eye on changing water quality conditions that can harm our coral reefs,” says Amy Hodges, Programs and Operations Manager at Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. She explains that the Hui O Ka Wai Ola program regularly gathers data about sediment, nutrients in the water, temperature, pH and more along leeward Maui shorelines.

The program manages data collected at 40 leeward sites since its inception, which has been provided to the Department of Health Clean Water Branch to be included in reports to the EPA and State and County agencies. New data is currently being gathered at 29 shoreline locations in West and South Maui. Presentations to the community and downloadable data at www.huiokawaiola.com help community resource managers and the public understand where ocean water quality is impaired and to help identify pollution trends across sites.

Dozens of volunteers have worked with the program since its launch. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Lahainaluna High School, Da Hawaiian Store and Pineapple Properties LLC have provided free space to the group for its indoor laboratories. The County of Maui has provided funding, along with local companies, foundations and groups including National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Duke’s Maui, Makana Aloha Foundation, Napili Bay and Beach Foundation, MediaThe Foundation, EACH Foundation, North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund, Maui Ocean Center, Hawaii Tourism, LUSH, Hawaii Community Foundation’s CHANGE grant and individual donors.

It costs about $4,000 per year per site to support this program and provide the materials, lab testing, supplies, and management needed to provide quality-assured data to the Department of Health.

To learn more about this program and to donate to support it, visit www.huiokawaiola.com.


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