Mission: Maui nui marine resource council (mnmrc) is a respected maui-based nonprofit organization recognized for our ability to work in partnership with the community toward our vision of clean ocean water, healthier coral reefs and thriving native fish. We celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2017. Our mission is to bring human actions into balance with ecological principles so that the health and abundance of maui's nearshore waters can be restored and sustained for future generations
Programs: Water quality monitoring program: clean ocean water is essential for healthy coral reefs and valued for ocean recreation. To help restore clean ocean water to maui county's nearshore areas, mnmrc co-manages the hui o ka wai ola ocean water-quality monitoring program in partnership with the nature conservancy, west maui ridge to reef, the state of hawaii department of health and u h maui college. This community-based program saw significant expansion in scope and size in 2017, growing from its initial size of 12 testing sites in 2017, to 24 shoreline locations by mid-2017 to a total of 36 locations by the conclusion of 2017. The program's scope grew to encompass both south and west maui. The expansion was achieved through the writing, procurement and management of grants, as well as fundraising efforts targeted at individual donors and corporate sponsers. Implementation of the program's expansion required the outfitting of a water-testing laboratory at the hawaiian islands humpback whale national marine sanctuary and the hiring of a part-time staff person, plus the training and supervision of more than a dozen new volunteers in 2017. Through this expanded program, the hui team members tested a total of 36 sites every two to three weeks through the end of 2017. 384 samples were gathered and tested in west maui, and 44 in south maui in 2017. The program had 30 active volunteers and 4 staff team leaders. By the end of the year, 18 months of data collected under the program's strict quality assurance project plan (qapp) was uploaded to the department of health database and is available on the hui's website. Data gathered by hui o ka wai ola volunteers and staff will allow us to identify areas of impaired water quality and seek solutions leading to clean water and healthier coral reefs. State and county officials have welcomed the availability of sufficient data to identify sources of land-based sources of pollution and are working with us to find solutions.
maui coral reef recovery team (mcrt): in january 2017, mnmrc convened the 14th meeting of the mcrrt, a group of hawaii's most widely recognized coral reef scientists, resource managers, fishers, cultural advisors and community members. An idea made reality by mnmrc in 2010, the mrct works to identify and support local, community-based solutions to help save maui's threatened coral reefs. During our january meeting, the team members participated in two days of reporting, analysis and discussion on addressing the declines in maui's coral reefs. The mcrt also evaluated progress made toward the maui coral reef recovery plan, a 101-page science based, recovery-driven plan published by the mnmrc in 2012 that outlines specific goals and steps to protect and restore maui's coral reefs. Our maui coral reef recovery team of eminent scientists committed to hawaii governor ige's goal of effectively managing at least 30% of hawaii's reefs by 2030 in maui county. A letter was composed to the governor and hawaii department of land and natural resources offering this support, and two of our committee members now serve on the governor's committee for this initiative.
community outreach and education: to increase awareness within the community and maui visitors, mnmrc maintained an active presence on facebook, twitter and instagram, sharing reports, articles, news and updates about the marine environment. We also publicized our programs and conservation efforts through news releases and appearances on akaku tv and hawaii's public radio's "the conversation" as well as through a monthly e-newsletter to more than 600 subscribers. In addition, we held well-publicized monthly meetings open to the public at which 12 speakers addressed current topics of concern about maui county's coral reefs and nearshore marine environment; participated in local outreach event; engaged 292 volunteers who donated 6,095 hours; increased to 1,600 followers on our facebook; and actively partnered with 12 other organizations. We received the equivalent of $21,960 of in-kind contributions, and $132,221 from donors. During 2017, mnmrc was proud to continue our support of maui nui's six community managed makai areas (cmma), a community-centered approach to protecting marine resources based on traditional hawaiian management practices. Mnmrc also supported the cmma network's umbrella organization, the maui nui makai network, by attending their meetings, providing training, supporting outreach efforts, and offering financial support for special projects. We provide this support in partnership with the nature conservancy. Spear-headed by mnmrc member, dr. Mark deakos, mnmrc participated in achieving international recognition for the beleagured coral reefs at olowalu as a "hope spot" by mission blue, an international organization led by dr. Sylvia earle. Funding was also obtained for a 2018 study, led by dr. Bob richmond, of the genetic make-up of corals in olowalu, to identify corals that can best survive warming oceans and other stressors. Mnmrc members also worked to inform the public about the adverse impacts of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate on maui's coral reefs. Our team created displays about harmful sunscreen ingredients (and alternatives) which were presented at local events, including the aloha classic and west maui ridge 2 reef rendevous. Our team also reached out via social media and on our website to increase awareness among visitors about this issue; we also spoke with snorkel and scuba tour boat operators about switching to reef-safe sunscreens. One of our board members worked with others in the local community to source affordable alternative sunscreen products in bulk for snorkel cruise companies on maui, so they can provide their guests with sunscreen choices which are safer for our coral reefs.
other programs: mnmrc partnered to fund a research study published in the marine pollution bulletin, titled "the influence of wastewater discharge on water quality in hawai'i: a comparative study for lahaina and kihei, maui" by mailea r. Miller-pierce and neil a. Rhoads. Mnmrc also supported existing and potential community managed marine areas on maui.