(BIVN) – Waiwai Ola Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands – an environmental non-profit organization, and (along with Keaukaha Action Network) a co-organizer of the two-day Water Quality Workshop at the University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo – gave a presentation on Saturday.
Rhiannon “Rae” Tereari‘i Chandler-‘Īao, who serves as the Executive Director and O‘ahu Waterkeeper for Waiwai Ola Waterkeepers, talked about her organizations efforts “to protect the ability of present and future generations to swim, fish, drink, and otherwise use and enjoy the waters that support the people and culture of Hawai‘i.”
The Waterkeepers have been working in partnership with the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (“PACRC”) at UH Hilo and the Waikiki Aquarium to deploy cages of native oysters in nearshore waters. According to the Waterkeepers website, “bivalves such as oysters can improve water quality by removing harmful pollutants that enter the ocean from wastewater and stormwater, as well as industrial and agricultural runoff. Oysters also remove carbon from the water and use it to build their shells, underscoring their importance in our changing climate and marine environment.”
Chandler-‘Īao said a Kona Coast Waterkeeper effort was been approved by the organization last year. It was created to address nearshore water quality for swimming and fishing, freshwater sustainability, and impacts from tourism.
Chandler-‘Īao also announced a Hilo Bay Waterkeeper project was just approved a few weeks ago, to a round of applause in the room. The Hilo Bay Waterkeepers will look at Hilo Bay circulation, storm water management, and cesspool conversion.
Chandler-‘Īao said they plan to staff both Hilo Bay and Kona Coast Waterkeepers in 2019.