West Maui Water Quality Lab Destroyed in Lahaina Wildfire

This past week’s events have left us all reeling as our community suffered an entirely unexpected and devastating blow after wildfires swept through and destroyed the West Maui town of Lahaina.  As we come up for air and try to assess the next steps, we are grateful that, while none of our West Maui volunteers or employees lost their lives in this tragedy, no one in this close-knit community is unaffected by the effects of the Lahaina Wildfire.  Among the structural losses from these fires was our water quality lab, used by the Hui O Ka Wai Ola to analyze coastal water quality samples from West Maui.

As we look to the future, our volunteers are determined to continue their water quality testing. We’ve transferred spare equipment from our South Maui lab and one of our volunteers is temporarily housing a makeshift lab in their home. While we have always appreciated the dedication of our Hui members to their mission, we are looking for permanent housing for the lab and working to raise the ~$20,000 that will be needed to replace the equipment and supplies that were destroyed.

We are coordinating with our partner organizations in the non-profit and local government sectors to see how we should extend our water quality sampling to understand how the new pollutants of concern will affect our nearshore waters. While new tests will be useful, the importance of the Hui’s six-year baseline cannot be understated. The Hui’s data provides a multi-year baseline that will allow us to understand how and where water quality changes as a result of the Lahaina Wildfire.

If you are moved and able to support our efforts to, please consider donating to help us rebuild the Hui’s water quality lab with a tax-deductible donation:  https://www.mauireefs.org/lahaina-wqlab/

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