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‘Ridge to Reef Rendez-VIEW’ to feature all-virtual format

By Staff | Oct 2, 2020

WEST MAUI — After ten consecutive years of celebrating mauka to makai stewardship in West Maui through a fun-filled, family-friendly community event — the Ridge to Reef Rendezvous — the partners of the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative have made some adjustments to the event’s format in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The event has historically marked the anniversary of the establishment of the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA), a unique type of Marine Managed Area located in North Kaanapali. 

Over the past ten years, it has expanded to include a broader focus. Now, instead of hosting a culminating one-day celebration at the beach, there will be a month-long series of online engagement opportunities in October, now more appropriately known as the “Ridge to Reef Rendez-VIEW.”

These free opportunities will include evening presentations, a trivia night and an online scavenger hunt.

Prizes in the form of gift cards to local Maui businesses will be given out through a drawing for all Maui residents who participate in any of the events and who complete an online scavenger hunt form.

The trivia night will be held via Zoom on Friday, Oct. 30, and will feature prizes for the winners as well as even more prizes via a live drawing for scavenger hunt participants.

Instead of asking West Maui businesses to donate prizes this year, West Maui Kumuwai has purchased gift cards to support these local businesses that are enduring ongoing hardship due to the pandemic.

The virtual event will also highlight the work of over a dozen West Maui organizations, who will each be given two days of the month, supported by the network of Ridge to Reef partners who will share and amplify their messages on social media. Parents and teachers should watch for educational activities and resources they can use with their children and students. 

The schedule for the series of free evening presentations (to be held from 5 to 6 p.m. over Zoom) is listed below. Anyone can register to participate via a link on West Maui Kumuwai’s website (News & Events) or Facebook page (www.facebook.com/WestMauiKumuwai). 

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, from 5 to 6 p.m., join the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative partners online for a free presentation, “Silver Lining of the Pandemic — COVID creates an experiment to study reduced human impacts on water quality and coral reef health at Kahekili, West Maui.”

The team of presenters includes Andrea Kealoha, PhD, University of Hawaii Maui College; Katie Shamberger, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University; and Yina Liu, Ph.D., assistant professor of Oceanography, Texas A&M University. It is free for anyone to participate; a link to register can be found on West Maui Kumuwai’s website and Facebook page. Registrants will have the opportunity to ask questions after the presentation.

On March 26, 2020, a mandatory two-week quarantine for all out-of-state visitors went into effect. The quarantine dropped visitor arrivals to Hawaii by 99.5 percent and has led to a substantial decline in Maui’s population, as well as a reduction in the amount of wastewater received, treated and injected.

In this presentation, the researchers will discuss the impacts of reduced tourism on water quality at Kahekili Beach Park in West Maui, including nutrient loading, emerging organic pollutants and acidification, and what these changes could mean for coral reef health.

The presentation schedule also includes:

Wednesday, Oct. 14: “Using technology for better natural resource protection: Community role and outcomes of supporting DOCARE officer response in West Maui” by Kirk Deitschman and Cole Hendrickson of the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE);  

Wednesday, Oct. 21: “Coastal Erosion: Managing Maui’s Dynamic Shorelines in the Face of Sea Level Rise” by Tara Owens of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program; 

Wednesday, Oct. 28: “Who pledges to protect the ocean? The role of place attachment in motivating voluntary commitments and support for conservation among coastal users in West Maui, Hawaii” by Francisca Santana of Stanford University, Ekolu Lindsey of Polanui Hiu and Alana Yurkanin of The Nature Conservancy, Hawaii.

The schedule of West Maui Ridge to Reef Hui partners to be featured online includes:

• Week of Sept. 28 — West Maui Kumuwai, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council;

• Week of Oct. 5 — County of Maui Department of Public Works;

• Week of Oct. 12 — Mauna Kahalawai Watershed Partnership, Marine Institute at Maui Ocean Center, Whale Trust;

• Week of Oct. 19 — Coral Reef Alliance, Hawaii Association for Marine Education & Research (including SHARKastics & Hawaiian Hawksbill Conservation), Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program;

• Week of Oct. 26 — Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), Maui Nui branches.

Beginning in April during the initial Coronavirus lockdown, West Maui Kumuwai purchased gift cards to local essential businesses and has been distributing them to local Maui residents who simply send in a photo of themselves engaged in one of several ocean-friendly activities outlined on its website and social media.

Over two dozen individuals and their families shared photos. This activity is ongoing and now part of the “Ridge to Reef Rendez-VIEW.” 

Grant support for these events has been provided by the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources and the Doolin Foundation for Biodiversity.

For more information, visit www.WestMauiKumuwai.org or www.facebook.com/WestMauiKumuwai), e-mail WestMauiKumuwai@gmail.com or call (808) 283-1631.