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Help keep an eye on Maui’s reefs

By Staff | Feb 25, 2016

As we have reported in recent months, reefs in West Maui and around the state face dire threats in pollution, rising ocean temperatures, poorly managed land practices and increasing recreational and extractive activities.

These factors foster coral disease and bleaching, support the spread of invasive species and threaten reef health.

Our reefs are vital, and we need to protect them.

In September, amid unprecedented coral bleaching in Hawaii waters, state Department of Land & Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case said, “The ocean is the lifeblood of Hawaii, and our coral reefs are the building blocks for the entirety of a healthy aquatic ecosystem. Virtually everyone in Hawaii enjoys the ocean in some way, and anything we can all do to help protect coral reefs will help protect our most vital natural resource for generations to come.”

Want to get involved? The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset invites the public to attend a talk by Darla White on Tuesday, March 1, as part of a series on coral reef conservation. White will discuss management efforts to save a reef in West Maui.

A marine scientist with the Hawaii DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources, White is the Maui coordinator for the Eyes of the Reef Network. The network is an effective statewide reporting system that enables all community members and ocean users to contribute to the long-term protection of our local reefs.

A scientific research diver in Hawaii for 15 years, White serves as the local coordinator for special projects that identify, assess and reduce impacts to coral reef ecosystem health and fish populations, including marine disease and climate change impacts.

Reef resilience and climate smart conservation are her foremost objectives in coral reef research and management.

The Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset’s community speaker series takes place on the first, third and fifth Tuesday of the month at the Royal Lahaina Resort.

Meetings run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., with 30 minutes of social time starting at 5 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Meet White and join the network. Without early sightings by the local “eyes” on our reefs, threats may go unnoticed until it is too late.