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      Public Invited to Free June 12 Presentation on South Maui Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Results

      How clean is the ocean water at your favorite South Maui beach?

      Get answers at a free presentation about ocean water quality along the coast of South Maui from ‘Āhihi-Kīnau (Makena) to Haycraft Park (Mā‘alaea) on Wednesday, June 12 at 6 pm. The talk will feature data collected at 20 South Maui sites by the community-based ocean water quality monitoring program Hui O Ka Wai Ola (Association of Living Waters). The presentation will take place at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary at 726 South Kīhei Road in Kīhei. Admission is free and the public is invited.

      “Sharing what we have observed in our first full year of data gathering in South Maui is a big milestone for our unique community-based program,” says James Strickland III, Project Manager. “We’ve learned some surprising things about our coastal water quality in South Maui, which we are looking forward to sharing with everyone at our presentation.”

      The free presentation will also include information about why clean ocean water is so important to the future of Maui’s coral reefs.

      The Hui O Ka Wai Ola program is co-managed by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy and West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative, working in cooperation with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health Clean Water Division. More than 40 Maui residents volunteer with Hui O Ka Wai Ola, covering 39 locations along Maui’s leeward shoreline.

      “Clean ocean water is important for healthy coral reefs and for all ocean recreation,” says Tova Callender, Watershed Coordinator of West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative. “To work towards clean ocean water along our shorelines, we need to understand where the water is impaired and what pollutants are to blame.”

      “The Hui O Ka Wai Ola program follows a strict Department of Health approved Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP),” says Callender. “This allows the Hui to provide data the Department of Health can readily incorporate into its reports and databases, which are shared with County, State and Federal agencies, scientists, community groups and the public.”

      Every three weeks the Hui team measures sediments, nutrients, and other pollutants from land-based sources that might be having a negative impact on water quality. They collect data for ocean salinity, pH, temperature, organic nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous compounds), dissolved oxygen (DO), and turbidity). Nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, can indicate agricultural runoff and sewage pollution. Sediments, which block sunlight and smother corals, can be carried from the land to the ocean by streams, flooding, and storm water runoff.

      “We’ll be discussing all that we’ve found, the implications for the reef and marine wildlife, and the clues the data provides about the sources of any pollutants,” says Robin Newbold, Chair and co-founder of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. “Ultimately, our goal is to use our data to bring about clean ocean water for Maui’s coastal areas, for all to enjoy.”

      The Hui O Ka Wai Ola program is supported by Maui County Office of Economic Development (OED), Hawai‘i Tourism Aloha ‘Āina Program, North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund, Napili Bay and Beach Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Lush Cosmetics, The Makana Aloha Foundation, Honua Kai West Maui Community Fund, as well as individuals, families and local businesses. To learn more or to donate, please visit www.huiokawaiola.com or at www.mauireefs.org.

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