The water quality in Ma‘alaea Harbor is compromised by storm water and sediment run-off, as well as other pollution originating from land. This nearshore ocean pollution adversely impacts areas adjacent to the harbor that are important recreational swimming and surfing areas. The pollution also undermines the health of coral reefs and sea turtle feeding areas just outside the harbor.
Reducing sediments and pollutants
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (MNMRC), an affiliate of Waterkeeper Alliance, is working on a proposed pilot project to use oysters to help improve ocean water quality at the harbor, as part of an overall effort to reduce sediment and pollutants in the harbor.
Oysters dedicated to water clean-up
As filter feeders, oysters can remove sediment, bacteria, heavy metals, PCBs, oil, micro-plastics and nutrients from the water column. Oysters also digest the type of bacteria that cause skin-borne illnesses such as Staph and MRSA.
The proposed project is modeled after several successful projects on the East Coast involving the restoration of oysters to improve water quality, including the highly effective NY/NJ Baykeeper project at Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey.
Working upslope: Stormwater Management Plan
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council recognizes that it’s also important to work upslope of Ma’alaea Bay, to better manage stormwater to prevent sediment and pollutants from entering the bay and the harbor. We’ve commissioned and paid for a detailed study by local stormwater management experts to help us understand the problems and challenges, and to identify projects on land that we can implement in the near future.
Visit again soon for updates!