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Public Forum with RGHʻs Chief Water Quality Scientist, Combatting Pollution in the 'Anini/Wanini Watershed

Annual Progress Report

Reef Guardians Hawai'i published the 'Anini Watershed Characterization Report (Knox, Dressler, Mazor, et al. 2022) to inform the public about the 'Anini / Wanini watershed and involve them in developing a community-based management plan. This December, Chief Water Quality Scientist Robin Knox gave an in-depth review of the report to members of Kauai's North Shore community for the second year.

Group of 5 men and women
Pictured L-R: Tom Woods, Robin Mazor, and Robin Knox of Reef Guardians with Jonathan McRoberts and Mark Wolfendale of The Rotary of Hanalei Bay

During the presentation, Knox emphasized the detrimental impact of pollution on the 'Anini Lagoon from Kalihiwai to Hanalei, including the current conditions of coral disease, coral bleaching, overgrowth of macroalgae and cyanobacterial algal mats, low fish populations, warm sea surface temperatures, and sedimentation. Knox also described the threats to water quality in near-shore waters originating from injection and wastewater treatment systems and runoff.

Testing Sites and Data Collection

The report identifies eight action areas to help remediate pollution and enhance the lagoon's health. Knox presented Reef Guardiansʻ 2024 goals for progress on these actions. Reef Guardians initiated an ʻAnini / Wanini Watershed Hui, including the state Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), Wastewater Alternatives and Innovations (WAI), and individual community volunteers.

Aerial view of 'Anini Lagoon.
Aerial view of 'Anini Lagoon and its two-mile fringing reef.

The next step will be to conduct a screening of water quality testing at various sites in the watershed to determine the testing sites for a two-year regulatory water quality testing study. This approach will collect sufficient data to prompt the Hawai'i State Department of Health to address pollutants discovered affecting the lagoon.

Reef Guardians Hawai'i raises awareness about the challenges facing the 'Anini watershed and other natural resources through interactive public forums such as this one. By working together, we can safeguard our precious marine ecosystems and ensure they remain healthy for future generations.

Many thanks to our donors WAI, the Manitou Fund and the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay for funding the Phase l screening study. Funding for our Phase ll 2-year Regulatory Study is being sought.

If you missed this year's presentation and want to participate, here are some ways to get involved:

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