A volunteer training was held on February 12 and 13 for 12 new volunteers to join the Clean Ocean Team and monitor water quality with Hui O Ka Wai Ola! Volunteers completed the 12-hour training using State Department of Health approved techniques and protocols for water quality monitoring under the QAPP. Of the new volunteers, most will help expand the monitoring effort in South Maui. Congratulations and mahalo to our new team members!
Photos: Bruce Forrester
Hui O Ka Wai Ola is a partnership of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (MNMRC), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), West Maui Ridge to Reef (R2R) Initiative and University of Hawaii Maui College in collaboration with the State of Hawaii Department of Health (DOH).
Hui O Ka Wai Ola is the first community-based water quality monitoring program in the State that periodically measures turbidity (a measure of water clarity) and nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorous) in near shore ocean waters and makes this data available to the public. "Our goal is to support the Department of Health and Maui County efforts to improve coastal water quality so that coral reefs and native fish populations thrive, and our residents and visitors are safe,” said Robin Newbold, Co-founder and Chair of MNMRC. “We want to help identify problem areas, so remedial action may be taken as needed.”
To fund the expansion to South Maui, MNMRC worked with TNC and R2R to obtain a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant. The grant provides matching funds to an award from Maui County OED. With this funding, the program was able to purchase water quality testing equipment and supplies and hired Sofia de la Sota as the new South Maui Regional Coordinator for Hui O Ka Wai Ola. North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund, Napili Bay and Beach Foundation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provide funding for the West Maui program.
Listen to a recent interview with Dana Reed about the expansion of Hui O Ka Wai Ola
on HPR's The Conversation.
On the morning of Tuesday, September 19th, Hui O Ka Wai Ola coordinators Dana Reed and Sofia de la Sota met in Kihei to set up the much anticipated South Maui water quality lab at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Armloads of boxes containing various equipment and supplies were hauled into the donated lab space. By the end of the day the coordinators had organized the space, water was distilling, batteries were charging, and meters and probes had been calibrated. With phase one of the lab now in place, training completed, and initial sites selected, the volunteers are ready to begin monitoring coastal water quality in South Maui!
The newest group of Hui O Ka Wai Ola water quality volunteers is ready to start monitoring in South Maui. This month, 23 new volunteers completed the 12 hour training in the State Department of Health approved technique and protocols for water quality monitoring. Of the new volunteers, 17 will launch the monitoring program in South Maui, and 6 will join the existing West Maui team. The expansion to South Maui follows the successful completion of the monitoring program's first year in West Maui, with over 476 samples collected to date. The South Maui group plans to begin collecting samples in September. Below are some of the things new volunteers had to say when asked if they liked the recent training:
Hui O Ka Wai Ola partners from the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy, the Ridge to Reef Initiative, and University of Hawai'i participated in the 2017 Hawai'i Conservation Conference on O'ahu from July 18-20. The water quality program partners presented and provided support during a 2-hour forum on July 18th titled “Water Quality Monitoring 101 Training: Citizen Science + Quality Assurance = Actionable Data that Improves Hawaii’s Waters”. Participants were walked through the steps of creating a quality assured, volunteer-based, monitoring program for their community and given a live demonstration of sampling techniques and protocols. Other speakers include Stuart Coleman from Surfrider and Erica Perez from Coral Reef Alliance.
On June 30, MACZAC (Marine And Coastal Zone Advocacy Council) selected Hui O Ka Wai Ola as one of the 2017 recipients of the Douglas Tom "Thumbs-Up" Award. The award is designed to recognize the contributions of organizations in Hawai'i that address these three goals:
Congratulations Hui Volunteers and Committee Members for all of your hard work recognized, and mahalo nui MACZAC for the award!
The Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) has been approved by the DOH ~ ensuring quality data from Hui O Ka Wai Ola!
A Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for Hui O Ka Wai Ola has recently been approved and signed by the Hawai'i Department of Health (DOH) Clean Water Branch! This means that the data gathered by Hui O Ka Wai Ola's Clean Water Team can be integrated with information from the DOH, expanding data gathering efforts beyond the single Health Department employee responsible for all water-quality monitoring on Maui.
The state officially signed off on the program Feb. 28, 2017 - a groundbreaking agreement for Maui Nui. Hui volunteers, however, have been collecting data under the QAPP standards since June 2016 after receiving a verbal OK from the Health Department, which was giving the plan its final review at the time.
Hui O Ka Wai Ola volunteers will be following the QAPP’s strict monitoring methods on a periodic schedule to cover all conditions and not focusing on rain or tide events. The current schedule calls for collecting data every three weeks by three teams with responsibilities for six sites each. The teams are currently monitoring for nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from runoff, which can damage coral reefs and fish habitats, ocean salinity, acidity content, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and suspended sediment in the water.
The approved QAPP can be found below, and also on our FOR VOLUNTEERS page under "Regulatory."
We will be hosting a community meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lahainaluna High School Cafeteria! The meeting will address concerns about brown water and what to do about it. Light pupus will be provided. For more information, please check out our articles in Maui Now and Lahaina News.