Project

Understanding Future Sediment Transport to Coastal Waters and Coral Reef Ecosystems

Project Summary

Affiliation(s): Pacific Islands CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Kirsten Oleson (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

Coral ecosystems of West Maui support a vibrant tourist industry and provide tangible economic benefits to the community. This economy depends on a healthy coral ecosystem, which is increasingly under multiple threats from global climate change and local land based pollution. Sediment, nutrients, and other pollutants are transported to coastal waters in runoff, groundwater seepage, and atmospheric fallout. These pollutants degrade coral ecosystems by blocking light used for photosynthesis, inhibiting coral larval recruitment, directly smothering and abrading coral, and triggering increases in macroalgae. The research team will construct a more authoritative sediment budget for West Maui watersheds, and incorporate the information into modeling. Project objectives include: 1) Surveying legacy deposits of in fine-grained fill terraces along four representative streams that produced sediment plumes in 2014; 2) Instrumenting four sites on these streams to estimate bank-erosion rates of fine sediments; 3) Translating findings into Bayesian models to estimate erosion. These activities will produce a sediment budget that allows users to focus mitigation efforts on the sources of sediment they expect be most concerned about.

Affiliation(s): Pacific Islands CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Kirsten Oleson (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)
Cooperator(s)/Partner(s):
  • John Stock (USGS)

Start Date: June 2015

End Date: June 2017

Project Status: In Progress

Tags: CSC, Pacific Islands CSC, 2015, Water and Ice, Coral Reefs, Rivers, Streams and Lakes

Fiscal Year: FY 2015 Projects

Data

  • Data for Mapping and Environmental Science to Support Clean Reefs of West Maui, Hawai'i