What is killing our coral reef system around South Maui? How is our marine water quality?Are you a part of the problem? Why is this disaster allowed to continue?

Are You willing to direct a volunteer team to test marine water quality in So Maui once a month?*

8/11/16 We are not marine biologists nor environmental scientists, but we have listened to them over the years as we have sadly observed this devastation to the system, & in some places, poor water quality occurrence. Our conclusion is there are a number of causes, big and small. A big one is silt, which when it is dumped onto coral remains there in spite of waves and currents, and chokes the coral. The silt pours into the kai when it rains, often in parts of Kula, via the gulches, because there are no longer near shore wetlands to filter out the silt, while allowing the naturally filter water to flow into the ocean. All sorts of chemicals from a variety of sources flow in to challenge reef health and water quality: street run off, cesspool seepage, damaging types of sunscreen (avoid any containing oxybenzone), overfishing, illegal dumping and the most controversial one, waste water injection wells.

The Clean Water Branch of the State Department of Health (DOW-CWB) has the responsibility for testing the near shore waters. SEE http://beachapedia.org/State_of_the_Beach/State_Reports/HI/Water_Quality

A recent study by Neil Rhoads and Mailea Miller-Pierce. SEE (www.ecooak.org) revealed that while much attention has been directed to water quality of the West Side of Maui, the central Kihei area from Kalama to Kamaole Beach Park I was extremely worse by many standards of measurement. While some point to the nearby Kihei Injection well flow near Kalama Park as the major cause, other claim this is just coincidence.

Our conclusion is the marine water quality in the area is certainly extremely poor, regardless of the cause, and find it dreadful that this is a hub of ocean activity for a continuous flow of visitors, who are completely uninformed. We find it unconscionable that our government is aware and takes no action to warn these visitors to potential exposure. How many return home with infections, unaware of the source? Is this pono? Those unconcerned with the environment, or the health of our visitors and our residents, we ask what effect will this have on our visitor industry economy? Once word gets out, and it will, not only won’t those affected return some may file suit against our government (that is us).

Our Planning Committee, under direction of Chair Harry Hecht, devoted this morning’s entire meeting to this general topic. The meeting included Director Stuart Stant and his Deputy Mike Miyamoto of County Environmental Management, as well as independent environmental Scientists Neil Rhoads and old KCA friend Robin Knox

Do you care about this? We certainly do. We are guided by, “e malama pono,” dedicated to protecting our ‘aina, kai and ‘ohana. Presently, we are formulating a public general membership meeting on this topic before the end of the year.

* if you, or someone you know IS interested let us know please. A group is presently doing this on the West Side, and a corresponding one on the South West shore would be extremely beneficial.

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3 Responses to “What is killing our coral reef system around South Maui? How is our marine water quality?Are you a part of the problem? Why is this disaster allowed to continue?”

  1. I would be willing to help check water in Kihei once a month if volunteers are needed.

  2. I was part of the Hawaiian Humpback National Marine Sanctuary’s Water Quality Team. I know Robin Knox knew what we were doing. I discontinued my volunteer service because it was not clear at all that any of the data we collected would ever be recognized. The sanctuary continues to work with other groups to try to find how they can best be used; best contact is Robin Walters. Yes, I am concerned. But just doing testing isn’t the answer. I also believe some recent reports were sensationalized but everyone needs to be better educated and there was some good information in them. I’m not an expert but I did recently write this blog post about water quality in Kihei. http://themauiminute.com/2016/06/kihei-beaches/

  3. Mahalo for continuing the conversation & including your perspective on your blog. We firmly agree with your comment,” just doing testing isn’t the answer,” and we certainly aren’t stating that. We do we believe using pre-approved methods and standards (by DOH_CWB) of marine water testings is vital to affect change. Probably since its inception. KCA has worked with HIHWNMS, and continues to do so, whether with local reps such as Robin Walters, Sanctuary Superintend Malia Chow or our oldest friend the regional leader Allen Tom.
    Arguably in this century Robin Knox has been our most frequent expert presenter at our general membership community meetings, and she has been again invited to an upcoming such meeting after the elections. (Stay tuned)
    But we need to mention yet one more Maui Robin, Robin Newbold, who leads the MNMRC. Their current clean water committee (CWC) are currently conducting such pre approved water quality testing on the west side, with hopes of expanding this good work to our region in 2017. Thus the expected need for volunteers in So Maui. Mahalo.