Sorry for the last-minute notice (shows what happens when I don’t check my messages over the weekend) but TODAY (May 2, 2016), the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is putting on an all-day workshop on Kihei water quality over at the Humpback Whale Sanctuary. According to organizers, the workshop is a follow-up to MauiTime‘s Mar. 16 story “Poop! (There It Is)” on new research into whether effluent from the County of Maui’s water treatment facility in South Maui is migrating to popular beaches like Kalama and Cove Park, where it could be seriously harming coral.
“The purpose of the workshop is: To consider new information regarding water quality in South Maui, to understand impacts of degraded water quality to coral reefs, to consider solutions, and develop recommendations,” said Amy Hodges of the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council in an Apr. 30 email. “Mailea Miller-Pierce [who was extensively interviewed in the MauiTime story] and Neil Rhoads, the authors of the scientific paper which brought to light the poor quality of Kihei’s water be presenting among other experts. There will then be a panel discussion and small group brainstorming session to develop a set of recommendations to improve our water.”
In total, five researchers will speak at the workshop on a variety of topics, including “The Influence of Wastewater Discharge on Water Quality in Hawaii: A Comparative Study of Lahaina and Kihei,” “Temporal Analysis of Hawai`i DOH [Department of Health] Water Quality Data” and “The Impact of Wastewater on Coral Reef Inhabitants and Ecosystems.”
The workshop starts at 8:30am and runs to 3pm. It takes place at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, which is located at 726 S. Kihei Rd. Click on the two links below to view the workshop’s agenda and program:
UPDATE added May 3, 2016:
The day after the conference, Hodges sent a follow-up email stating that about 30 people attended (with another five people watching online), representing various organizations like the state Division of Aquatic Resources, the Department of Health, various homeowners associations, the Kihei Community Association, Maui Tomorrow, the Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service, the University of Hawaii and the County of Maui’s Wastewater division. She also said the attendees agreed to a numerous recommendations, of which these were the top four:
- Conduct a feasibility study of best practices from around the world for treatment and use of wastewater, with associated costs. Determine the best fit for Maui and then make recommendations to the County of Maui.
- Identify the various sources of pollution to our reefs (wastewater, groundwater, stormwater, construction runoff, etc.) and the amount they’re contributing both in volume and in impact to the reefs.
- Reduce nutrient levels in the water through enhanced regulations, including increased water quality monitoring and improved thresholds.
- Mobilize the community, visitor industry, county and state in efforts to improve water quality.
“The ocean is our home and our economy,” Hodges said. “It is all of our kuleana to protect it.”
Photo of Cove Park: Forest & Kim Starr/Wikimedia Commons