Important Water Quality Research on Maui made possible by The EACH Foundation.
MNMRC is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization celebrating 11 years of working for clean ocean water, healthy coral reefs and abundant native fish for the islands of Maui County.
The grant funded their unique community-based ocean water monitoring program called Hui O Ka Wai Ola, a Hawaiian term meaning “Association of Living Waters.” at two sites ( Āhihi Kīna‘u North and ‘Āhihi Kīna‘u South, located within the ‘Āhihi-Kīna‘u reserve in South Maui). It also supports the overall work of staff and 40 volunteers who test water quality at 39 different locations along Mauiʻs coast every three weeks year-round.
The following is from Anne Rillero, Communications, Community Outreach and Development Manager at MNMRC.
Our local coral reefs need clean ocean water to survive and thrive, which is why we are deeply grateful to The Each Foundation for generously supporting this unique water testing program.
Why is ocean water testing important? Coral reefs are extremely sensitive to changes in ocean chemistry, so we monitor the water for shifts in pH, salinity and temperature. We also evaluate the water for excess nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen, which can cause overgrowths of invasive algae that block sunlight that corals need to produce food. The presence of excessive phosphorous and nitrogen can indicate pollution from wastewater or runoff from agriculture, landscaping or golf courses. In addition, we monitor the amount of turbidity, or sediment in the water. Sediment from land is transmitted by stormwater into the sea, causing ocean water to become brown and murky, and hinders the ability of corals to survive and reproduce.
Starting this year, weʻll also be monitoring our South Maui sites for enterococcus bacteria, which indicate the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
Our water monitoring program is unique because it is co-managed by three organizations (Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy and West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative) and operates under a Quality Assured Project Plan (QAPP) approved by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) Clean Water Branch (CWB). For this reason, our data is readily accepted into the State of Hawaii Department of Health database and shared with state and county officials to identify sources of land-based sources of pollution to better pursue solutions. We believe that the data we collect today will help us achieve our goal of cleaner ocean water in the future.
Everyone values clean ocean water for recreation. In this time of climate change, clean ocean water gives our corals their best hope for survival. We thank The Each Foundation for supporting this important program and invite anyone who would like to volunteer to contact our Program Manager, James Strickland, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also humbly ask for your continued support; please donate at www.MauiReefs.org.