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Volunteers sought for community-based water quality monitoring efforts

By Staff | Oct 27, 2011

LAHAINA – The public is invited to an educational workshop on Thursday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lahaina Civic Center on community-based water quality monitoring efforts.

Focusing on water quality, the workshop will present an overview of issues, concerns and solutions, as well as demonstrate the protocols used in local volunteer efforts.

It is designed to be an entry-level workshop for anyone interested in water quality who would like to get involved in local efforts to conduct sampling and assist local groups and resource managers.

This workshop will also present participants with the opportunity to learn about the purpose and use of an online resource, the Coral Reef Monitoring Data Portal, to assist with local citizen science efforts.

Found online at monitoring.coral.org, the portal is designed to support, enhance and widen the scope of existing monitoring efforts in Hawaii.

The data portal was developed and is managed by the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL). It was created in partnership with, and in support of, local community-based monitoring programs and funded by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Robin Knox, president of Water Quality Consulting Inc. and coordinator for the Southwest Maui Watershed Plan, assisted with the development of the web portal.

“Our volunteers want to know that their efforts really make a difference. The Department of Health is increasingly challenged due to staff shortages as a result of the state’s budgetary crisis and has encouraged volunteer monitor groups to help. The portal and database allow us to do that.

“As we do more watershed-based planning for water quality, this citizen science capacity will be even more important to managers.”

For more information about the workshop or the web portal, contact Liz Foote, CORAL’s Hawaii field manager, at Lfoote@coral.org or 669-9062.