Lawsuits and Floating Workshops Give Promise to Hawaii Reefs

Floating workshop. Photo by Amanda Stone

On May 30, 2014, a federal court ruling found the County of Maui, which operates the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility, to be in violation of the Clean Water Act. This ruling was in relation to injection wells which the County uses to dispose of treated wastewater effluent. The effluent travels underground through groundwater, and percolates up into coastal coral reefs of West Maui through submarine springs (seeps). This inflow of warm, nutrient rich, and oxygen poor water is negatively impacting these reefs. Although CORAL was not a party to this particular lawsuit, which was filed by several environmental groups, we are equally concerned about how this acute water pollution issue is harming the reefs. CORAL, along with other conservation organizations, has been working with the County, the accommodations industry, and local community members to address this issue by encouraging the reuse of this treated water as an … [Read more...]

Shifting Baselines

Me (Kate) diving in Cozumel. Photo by CORAL staff

As part of CORAL’s development team, I don’t get many opportunities to go into the field. But last month, I joined Field Programs Director Jason Vasques on a trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for a series of meetings relating to our work with the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative (MARTI). Now, not only are trips into the field a little rarer for us development folk, but I didn’t join CORAL with much of a conservation or marine biology background. When I joined CORAL in the summer of 2009, my only interaction with a reef was snorkeling in Bermuda when I was seven. Had I not taken this job, I am not sure I would have ever pursued SCUBA certification. Having said that, when in Rome . . . In the winter of 2011, when my first work trip to our project site in Mexico was approaching, I gave more serious thought to the idea of getting certified. Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to see firsthand what it is that I spend my days … [Read more...]