Our Water, Our Health: TCBES Natural Resource Mgmt Seminar - Event Details

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Our Water, Our Health: TCBES Natural Resource Mgmt Seminar

Seminar Title: Our Water, Our Health

Speaker: Rhiannon Chandler-‘Iao, Executive Director, Waiwai Ola Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands

Abstract: The State of Hawai'i has over 90 water bodies that are considered "impaired" under State and Federal standards. While relatively calm, Hilo Bay is underutilized due to a heavy industrial boom in the mid-1900s that left the waters murky and the shoreline polluted. Adding to the challenge, stormwater, cesspools and antiquated forms of wastewater infrastructure contaminate the groundwater and compromise the area’s swimmable waters.

Waiwai Ola Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands was created to promote fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters. The first Waterkeepers project in Hawai‘i was the restoration of native oysters in partnership with UH Hilo’s Pacific Aquaculture & Coastal Resources Center (PACRC). Filter feeding bivalves such as oysters can improve water quality by removing harmful pollutants that enter the ocean from wastewater and stormwater. Oysters also remove carbon from the water column and use it to build their shells, underscoring their importance in our changing climate and marine environment.


Under the umbrella of Waiwai Ola Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands, Hilo Bay Waterkeeper works to address local water quality issues. With support from the County of Hawai‘i Office of Research and Development, Hilo Bay Waterkeeper and PACRC are restoring native oysters and limu (seaweed) to Hilo Bay to remove nitrogen and other nutrients from the water which can lead to algal blooms. The project is the first step in raising awareness about our nearshore water quality challenges, and providing education to community members about ways to reduce land-based sources of pollution.

All are invited!

For more information, contact: uhhtcbes@hawaii.edu (808) 932-7573

Tags: TCBES Rhiannon Chandler-'Iao Waiwai Ola Waterkeepers Waterkeepers PACRC Hilo Bay Water

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