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Erica Perez
Based in

USA (Hawaiʻi Island, Hawaiʻi)

Erica Perez

Senior Manager and Head of Sanitation, Hawai'i

Erica Perez is a University of Hawai’i at Hilo alum who graduated with degrees in marine science and conservation biology. She fell in love with the underwater world and became a scientific diver working with Hawai’i Division of Aquatic Resources on various marine projects. Erica has worked in Hawai’i for nearly 20 years supporting community-based management, education, and most recently helping to mitigate wastewater impacts caused by cesspools and outdated wastewater technology. 

As Senior Program Manager for the Coral Reef Alliance’s Hawai’i Island program, Erica has led the Clean Water for Reefs Puakō project for the past seven years, working to convert cesspools along the Puakō shore to better technology to improve human and coral reef health. To ensure all aspects of the transition are addressed and the best possible solutions are identified, she developed and facilitated the Clean Water for Reefs Puakō advisory committee, comprising experts from the industry, government, community, researchers, and nonprofit sector.

Erica currently sits on the State Cesspool Conversion Working Group, which aims to develop a plan to convert all cesspools across the state to better technology by 2050. She also is a core member on the County of Hawai’i Climate Action Committee to mitigate climate impacts through building resilience and community equity. As a member of the South Kohala Coastal Partnership’s Clean Water initiative, she ensures actions that support clean and abundant groundwater for South Kohala’s coastal ecosystem. Erica strives to empower local communities with the science and data needed to inform positive change. She developed Hawai’i Wai Ola, the first quality assured citizen science water quality monitoring program in Hawai’i County to help improve Hawai’i Island’s coastal water quality through science and communication, to accelerate positive change.

Tell me and I will forget, Teach me and I will remember, Involve me and I will learn.

Benjamin Franklin
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