The MNMRC scientific diving program allows us to better understand the state of Maui’s coral reef habitats and monitor for changes in the coastal environments where we work. The program is operated under the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) standards for scientific diving. It will allow MNMRC to work more effectively with other professional diving programs at state, federal, and educational institutions.
Although just a few years old, the diving program has worked to help understand the environmental conditions affecting oyster growth and survival in Maalaea harbor by repeated short-term deployments of environmental monitoring instrumentation. It has also contributed survey data to the Aqualink project, a global coral reef bleaching alert program.
Since 2022, the program has been important to growing our understanding of the conditions of reefs in South Maui – from Kihei to Makena. The initial surveys conducted by our dive team will guide the placement of long-term monitoring stations along the coast to track water quality and reef health. As MNMRC and other groups continue to work to reduce erosion and improve wetlands mauka of these sites, it is our hope that these stations will show South Maui’s reefs start to improve.