Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has entered into a new partnership with Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. A memorandum of agreement was signed this month between NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and MNMRC, opening the possibility of the two entities to work together to initiate new research, education, and outreach projects throughout Maui County. “We are always open to new partnerships that help increase our understanding of our local marine ecosystems,” said Allen Tom, HIHWNMS superintendent.
“As a community-based nonprofit working for clean ocean water and healthy coral reefs, we have firsthand experience with the tremendous power of partnerships and the accelerated positive outcomes that can result to benefit the marine environment,” said Robin Newbold, co-founder and chair of MNMRC. “We are very excited about our partnership with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and the opportunity to collaborate on new research, education and conservation projects to improve our local marine eco-systems.”
The HIHWNMS has collaborated with MNMRC on its unique, community-based Hui O Ka Wai Ola ocean water quality monitoring program by providing free lab space for water quality testing, and by sharing meeting space where findings about water quality data have been presented to the community. “Clean ocean water is important for the health of all marine ecosystems around Maui and within the Hawaiian Islands,” said Newbold.
The Hui O Ka Wai Ola program relies on the efforts of more than 35 local volunteers, who regularly test ocean water quality at 41 locations in South and West Maui, providing valuable data to the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health Clean Water Branch.
The HIHWNMS includes information about Hui O Ka Wai Ola ocean water quality program in its free public presentations, “45 Ton Talks” offered every Tuesday and Thursday at 11am at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center in Kihei.
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is also working on improving ocean water quality in Mauiʻs Ma‘alaea Bay, an area where humpback whales are in abundance during the months of November through April; MNMRC will be working in the 4,000-acre Pohakea watershed, upslope of the bay, to reduce soil erosion and sediment-laden runoff into the ocean.
Photo courtesy Maui Nui Marine Resource Council