PROGRAM PUBLICATIONS

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Adding Value to Island Waste

Adding Value to Island Waste

by Stacy KishDespite the best efforts to contain it, untreated waste from the 88,000 cesspools in Hawai‘i escapes the confines of the system, polluting coastlines and endangering marine life and coral ecosystems. When treated properly, much of the wastewater is released to the ocean rather than reused in the drier regions of the islands. This challenge opens the door to an opportunity. A small band of scientists, politicians, and citizens are heralding the benefits of new technologies that could eliminate the poop in creative and unique ways while adding value to the islands. According to Stuart Coleman, the grand vision
Restoring Water Quality and Bringing Back Coral Reef Ecosystems: Lessons from Kāneʻohe Bay

Restoring Water Quality and Bringing Back Coral Reef Ecosystems: Lessons from Kāneʻohe Bay

by Abbey SeitzOver the past century, wastewater, stormwater, and other pollutants from land and development have damaged our islands’ coastal ecosystems and nearshore waters. This degradation is due in part to the islands’ increasing urbanization coinciding with global warming. Given these immense challenges, many wonder, is there any hope of restoring these coastal areas? The recovery of Kāneʻohe Bay — from its sewage saturated waters and scum-covered reefs in the 1970’s to its now beautiful high coral cover condition — offers lessons in effective wastewater management and watershed remediation for coastal communities across the Pacific. To understand the revival of
Sewage in the seas

Sewage in the seas

by Natasha VizcarraIt’s easy to get lost in the weeds finding out how to empty that portable 5-gallon toilet at the back of the boat. A simple Google search turns up a messy list of how-to videos, along with state and federal agency guidelines. However, Ed Underwood, chief of the Hawaiʻi Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), simplifies it this way: “Either you go out three miles to dump untreated sewage, or pump it into a holding facility.” It’s a rule that’s true for all states with coastal areas. That leaves the boater and his portable toilet three options.
How Clean is Clean?

How Clean is Clean?

by Lurline Wailana McGregorBefore the Clean Water Act of 1972 became law, most of the agricultural wastewater and sewage from the Kaʻanapali coast on Maui, Hawai‘i was treated to remove only solids before being piped out into the ocean. After the wastewater started being injected into wells to comply with the new law, nearby residents started noticing algal blooms and destruction of the coral reefs in the waters along the once-healthy shoreline. That was the beginning of what would become decades of research by coral biologists, limu (seaweed) experts, and scientists who studied the exchange of groundwater between land and
Transforming the Ala Wai

Transforming the Ala Wai

by Josh McDanielFew of the millions of tourists who flock to the sparkling beaches of Waikīkī are aware that the area was once a vast estuary fed by three streams, Makiki, Mānoa, and Pālolo, which plunged from the steep slopes of the Ko‘olau Range down to the coast. The coastal marshes, loʻi kalo (flooded taro fields), and loko iʻa (fishponds) of Waikīkī sustained Native Hawaiians and later Chinese rice and duck farmers for centuries. The territorial government dug the Ala Wai Canal in Waikīkī during the 1920s to drain the wetlands. Construction of the canal allowed the development of Waikīkī
Making #2 a #1 Priority

Making #2 a #1 Priority

by Kate FurbyStuart Coleman loves potty humor. But unlike the rest of us, he has a work excuse. And while not all of his puns are suitable for print journalism, suffice it to say that he approaches his work on sewage, wastewater, and cesspools with a lighthearted spirit. He has said a good poo pun helps keep him sane in this line of work. “It still makes me laugh that I’m dealing with wastewater. Sometimes I feel embarrassed about it. But it’s the thing that unites all humans and that we all have in common,” said Coleman. Learning to talk
Tackling Cesspool Conversion from Long Island to the Hawaiian Islands

Tackling Cesspool Conversion from Long Island to the Hawaiian Islands

by Shannon KelleherAs Hawai‘i prepares to carry out a massive overhaul of its numerous cesspools by 2050, the state finds itself in a quandary — waste treatment is expensive, and homeowners’ pockets only run so deep. “This is one of the biggest burdens the state is facing because it’s a $2 – 4 billion problem,” said Stuart Coleman, executive director and co-founder of Wastewater Alternatives and Innovations (WAI) and a member of the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s Cesspool Conversion Working Group. Fortunately, this daunting task is one that communities across the U.S. have tackled before. Suffolk County, N.Y., which encompasses
lead spread for article that includes a hand drwn illustration of a residental nearshore cesspool process

Wanted: Wastewater Wins

by Robin Donovan“It’s not a million-dollar question; it’s a billion-dollar question,” says Sina Pruder of Hawaiʻi’s cesspool conversion challenge. As an engineering program manager for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s (DOH) wastewater branch, Pruder has faced a daunting task since 2018: making recommendations to Hawaiʻi state legislators about how to tackle the mammoth effort of converting cesspools to more environment- and health-friendly alternatives like septic tanks and aerobic treatment systems. She’s part of the Hawaiʻi Cesspool Conversion Working Group. Cesspools are holes in the ground used to discharge untreated wastewater and sewage, which then travels through groundwater systems
Home Aquaponics – Your Next Passion?

Home Aquaponics – Your Next Passion?

by Liz ColeyIn 2011, author, educator, entrepreneur Sylvia Bernstein wrote AQUAPONIC GARDENING: A Step by Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together to share her passion with the uninitiated. The book offers an engaging and practical deep dive into all the components of developing a working ecosystem of fish, plants, worms, bacteria, water, rocks, and air. This 250-page DIY is a quick read, offering the aquaponics-curious novice a springboard for deciding whether they are now enthusiastic, intrigued, or too daunted to take the plunge. Aquaponics practitioners, whether home growers or commercial farmers, have clearly found not only a hobby
Farming on a Loop

Farming on a Loop

by Jake BuehlerIn Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, physical space for agriculture is substantially more limited than on continental landmasses. This has made farming practices that combine efficiency with a low impact on land and water use especially useful for producing food in the Pacific region. Now, one food production system is increasingly recognized here, and across the world, for its capacity to reduce waste and cost while still producing high yields: aquaponics. Aquaponics is farming on a loop. Fundamentally, the process is a merger of aquaculture—where fish or shellfish are raised in tanks or ponds—and hydroponics, where plants are grown
Reviving Cultural Practices and Restoring Self: Rosalyn Concepcion

Reviving Cultural Practices and Restoring Self: Rosalyn Concepcion

by Stacy KishThe 400-year old stone walls of Waikalua Loko Iʻa, a Hawaiian fishpond in Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu, retain a history that has almost been lost to disrepair during the past century. Rosalyn (Roz) Concepcion has been working to restore the fishpond and bring its gifts of food sovereignty, cultural restoration, and environmental healing back to the community. “When I stepped in, I wanted to understand the historical practices of the fishpond,” said Concepcion, the kiaʻi loko iʻa, alaka`i, or fishpond manager. “By bringing back old practices, we are bringing life back into the pond.” Concepcion’s role as the kiaʻi loko
Farming the Open Ocean—Is Offshore Aquaculture in Hawaiʻi the Future of Seafood?

Farming the Open Ocean—Is Offshore Aquaculture in Hawaiʻi the Future of Seafood?

by Josh McDanielOn the island of Hawai‘i, about a half mile off Keāhole Point near Kona, nine large net pens teem with hundreds of thousands of kanpachi (Seriola rivoliana, or longfin amberjack). Blue Ocean Mariculture’s kanpachi fish farm is the only commercial open-ocean aquaculture operation in the United States, and it may be a model for an industry that many believe is primed for growth. “We have the expertise, the technology, and the entrepreneurs who are ready,” says Kat Montgomery, the seafood, aquaculture, and ocean policy director for ESP Advisors in Washington D.C. “In the next 10 years, I believe
Propagating resilience

Propagating resilience

by Natasha VizcarraIt was a warm, cloudy Saturday at Maunalua Bay Beach Park. Under a blue tent, masked volunteers at the Mālama Maunalua Hana Pūko‘a​ event bent over water saws to gingerly cut coral into large thumb-sized pieces. Under a green tent, more volunteers stood around waist-high tanks and glued coral fragments—branch side upwards—to aragonite plugs. These were not ordinary bits of coral. Stress tests at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology’s (HIMB) Coral Resilience Lab, which continues the legacy of renowned scientist Dr. Ruth Gates, showed they were more heat resistant with a better chance at surviving current and
Sharing the Catch

Sharing the Catch

by Robin DonovanIf you read the news, it’s everywhere: rising sea levels, warming oceans, degraded coastlines, and dying coral reefs. The consequences of climate change are apparent around the globe, but for fish-loving island communities like those in American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas, the urgency of balancing sustainable practices with growing demand for fish, both for subsistence and for profit, is leading to creative partnerships that blend knowledge gained from western research and local fishing practices. Guam Guam has felt fish shortages more acutely than some of its neighbors due to its larger population size and smaller reef
Can Hawaiian Fishpond Technology Increase Food Security?

Can Hawaiian Fishpond Technology Increase Food Security?

by Lurline Wailana McGregor“Wehe i ka mākāhā i komo ka iʻa,” open the fish gate that the fish may enter, is an ʻōlelo noʻeau (Hawaiian proverb) referencing a strategy used to trap fish in the loko iʻa, as well as a trap for invading warriors. For over one thousand years, all it took to attract pua (juvenile fish) into the approximately 488 fishponds that Native Hawaiians built along the shores of the islands, was to open the gate, due to its innovative construction. These loko iʻa were abundant with many species of fish, including the revered ʻamaʻama (striped mullet) that
Raising the Next Generation of Aquatic Farmers

Raising the Next Generation of Aquatic Farmers

by Shannon WianeckiThe term “aquaculture” encompasses everything from restoring traditional fishponds to rearing seahorses for aquariums and reducing greenhouse gases with red algae. It’s a diverse field, and it’s booming: it’s the fastest growing sector of the agricultural industry worldwide, by a large margin. In Hawai‘i, the economic value of aquaculture doubled over the past decade, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. It now ranks fifth among the state’s agricultural products, below macadamia nuts and coffee, but above cattle ranching. In 2019, aquaculture companies in Hawai‘i reported $83.2 million in sales and 369 workers on

The Limu Eater – A Cookbook of Hawaiian Seaweed

Vintage Reprint Available in October 2022 Pre-order your copy of The Limu Eater today through Native Books! This reprint of The Limu Eater is the product of a partnership between Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA) and the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program (Hawai‘i Sea Grant), who worked collaboratively to support the conceptualization, design, and actualization of the reprint. Support for printing was provided by the Center for Oral History at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, and Hawai‘i Sea Grant. Partnering Organizations Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA) means “grassroots growing through shared responsibility.” KUA is a

The Three ‘Io Brothers and The Rising Tide

by Keri Kodama On a bright summer day on the Island of Hawai‘i, the three ‘Io brothers packed their bags and got ready to leave for a well-earned vacation. They were on their way to visit their old friend ‘Apapane who lived by the ocean in Kapoho, and they were all very excited for it had been many years since they could visit. “I can’t wait to go swimming!” said the first ‘Io brother, the most playful of the three. “I hope the waves are good,” said the second ‘Io brother, who was the coolest. “I remember there were many

ʻAha ʻIke Pāpālua – 2020 Report

In January 2020, we came together in a visioning ʻAha - to assemble around the questions of who, what, and why our Sea Grant Center of Excellence should focus its time, energy, and efforts. In this period of change, the Center made significant progress building out existing projects and as we have grown and assumed new kuleana, we felt it appropriate that our new name, Ulana ʻIke, reflect our evolving roles and function. The  ʻAha ʻIke Pāpālua Report reflects our collective aspirations directed by community partner manaʻo and advice. The report includes: An explanation of the intentionality and meaning behind
Cover of the 2022 Hawaii Dune Restoration Manual

Hawaiʻi Dune Restoration Manual

The Hawaiʻi Dune Restoration Manual was written and created by the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant). Hawaiʻi Sea Grant supports and conducts innovative research, education, and extension services toward the improved understanding and stewardship of coastal and marine resources nationwide. The Hawaiʻi Dune Restoration Manual is written in response to increasing awareness of the importance of preserving, restoring, and maintaining coastal dunes. There are clear ongoing impacts associated with climate change, including sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and more frequent and severe storm events, all causing beach and dune erosion. However, there are also direct human

University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program Biennial Report (2018-2019)

The University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant) is organized into Centers of Excellence, a unique structure within the 34 university-based Sea Grant programs across the network. This allows the work of our faculty and staff to engage across our universities to bring multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary approaches and solutions in service to communities throughout the region. The cover images depict the passion, commitment, and diversity of people and projects that are genuinely representative of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant and our expansive focus areas. Our program’s service is truly region-wide, with responsibilities spanning a geographic area greater than

Energy Targets and Efficiency Measures in Multifamily Subtropical Buildings

The Technology | Architecture + Design journal article by associate professor Wendy Meguro and Elliot Glassman from WSP, "Evaluating Energy Targets and Efficiency Measures in Multifamily Subtropical Buildings through Automated Simulation" (April 2021) is available free online here This study demonstrates a replicable process using early design phase energy modeling to reduce energy use in multifamily residential buildings in subtropical climates and achieve net-zero site energy. Why was the study initiated? Buildings produced almost 40% of annual global GHG emissions in 2018, so reducing energy use in buildings is key to meeting climate change mitigation targets. Who is the audience?
From Loss to Recovery to Resilience

From Loss to Recovery to Resilience

by Lurline Wailana McGregorIn 2018, Hurricane Walaka circumvented the Hawaiian Islands before circling back to pass directly over Kānemilohaʻi, also known as the French Frigate Shoals, an atoll 550 miles northwest of Honolulu. It washed away East Island, an 11-acre islet in the Lalo group, destroying one of the primary nesting and birthing spots for Hawaiian green sea turtles and Hawaiian monk seals, respectively; the Hawaiian monk seal is one of the most endangered seal species in the world. Not only did this Category 4 storm severely damage terrain, it obliterated the pristine Rapture Reef that lies about 24 meters
Turning up the Heat: the evolving threat of wildfire

Turning up the Heat: the evolving threat of wildfire

by Keri KodamaIn July 2019, an 8000-acre brush fire, fueled by an abundance of dry vegetation and an oppressive heat wave, consumed Central Maui. The blaze began as a roadside fire and spread rapidly with help from the wind. Within only a few hours, it had jumped across a six-lane highway and forced the shutdown of Kahului Airport and the evacuation of residents and visitors. By the time firefighters managed to contain it, the fire had become Maui’s largest on record. On average, 17,000 acres, or 0.4 percent of Hawaiʻi, burns annually, a larger percentage of the statewide land area
Climigration: A look to the future for environmental migrants

Climigration: A look to the future for environmental migrants

by Amanda MillinNearly three decades ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated that “the gravest effects of climate change may be those on human migration.” Estimates differ widely, but most experts agree that upwards of 25 million people will be forced to leave their homes by 2050. Yet, international and domestic laws around the world continue to take a cautious and nuanced approach to the problem. Confusion and a lack of global consensus surround even what to call these displaced persons. Nor is there agreement on where they are going, what causes their movement, and how these future
The Ocean is Feeling the Heat

The Ocean is Feeling the Heat

by Lonny LippsettA fever is rising in the ocean. Our rampant burning of fossil fuels has produced a heat-trapping blanket of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere that has warmed the Earth. But the situation would be much worse without the ocean, which has absorbed more than 90 percent of that excess heat. Scientists reported that in 2020, the ocean held the most heat ever recorded. In recent decades (1987-2019), ocean warming has increased by 450 percent, compared to the three decades before that (1955-1986). Last year, the ocean absorbed more than 200 times as much heat as it did
Turning Down the Temperature on Urban Heat Islands

Turning Down the Temperature on Urban Heat Islands

by Josh McDanielAugust 31, 2019, tied the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded at the Honolulu airport. On the same day, volunteers and city workers placed sensors on their vehicles and drove through O‘ahu neighborhoods throughout the day. Staff from the City and County of Honolulu (City) Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency (Resilience Office) used the resulting measurements to construct a detailed heat map of the island. Though it is no surprise that many hotspots were in the concrete jungle of Honolulu’s urban core, certain other windward and leeward locations also registered extreme heat indices, which was
article spread including headshot of Matt Gonser and community volunteers

Q & A with Matthew Gonser

by Cindy Knapman and Kanesa SeraphinMatthew Gonser, former extension faculty with the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program, was recently appointed as the chief resilience officer and executive director of the City and County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. He took the time to share his thoughts and vision for the office, and how it is fostering connectivity and collaboration to turn community visions into action. Can you tell me about the City and County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, and how it came about? The office was created by the
lead article spread with aerial image of the KIUC soalr farm.

Harnessing the Elements by 2045

by Natasha VizcarraHawai‘i Senator Glenn Wakai was in a Zoom meeting in late January when he noted a kink in the islands’ renewable energy plans. The state’s only coal-fired power station was shutting down in September 2022. However, solar power projects replacing the plant’s 180-megawatt generation were delayed six months to a year. The Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) somehow needed to source enough renewable energy to feed the grid. The whole process would include time-consuming requests for proposals, sorting bids, picking winning contractors, requesting permits, procurement, building, and testing. And they had to do it in less than two years,

RMI Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards

Introduction When a natural hazard occurs - whether it be a tropical cyclone, tsunami, extratropical storm, king tide, flood, sea-level rise, erosion, or drought - the results can be devastating for your land, your home, your family, and your possessions. Financial losses can be particularly high in the two administrative centers of the northern and southern Marshall Islands - Majuro and Ebeye, Kwajalein - which have seen explosive growth in both population and land area since the mid-1940s. This has been especially true in Majuro, where a number of lagoonal openings along Majuro Atoll were connected by the US Navy
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