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Telling the Public About USGS Research on the Kona Coast, Hawai'i

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Eric Grossman talks to students and teachers at Kealakehe High School's GIS Day
Above: Eric Grossman (right) talks to students and teachers at Kealakehe High School's GIS Day, November 16, 2005, in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i. [larger version]

Setting up student research projects, November 16, 2005, in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Hawai'i.
Above: Setting up student research projects, November 16, 2005, in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Hawai'i. [larger version]

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists took time out from a week of fieldwork on the Big Island of Hawai'i to explain some aspects of their research to the public last November. Eric Grossman, Curt Storlazzi, and Josh Logan were on the Big Island to investigate submarine ground-water discharge and the flux of associated nutrients and contaminants into coastal waters in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park on the island's west coast.

On November 10, Grossman delivered a "ReefTalk" to approximately 75 people from the community of Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i. Sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Sea Grant Program, the talk described a new study of submarine ground-water discharge being conducted by scientists from the USGS, Stanford University, the University of Hawai'i, and Florida State University to generate baseline data on the delivery of freshwater, nutrients, and contaminants to West Hawai'i's coral reefs. West Hawai'i's growing human population and the ecosystems in its unique anchialine ponds (nearshore ponds with no surface connection to the ocean but with saltwater and tidal cycles) and near-pristine coral reefs are closely tied to ground water—the principal form of freshwater along the arid West Hawai'i coast. Grossman also described recent findings about Holocene coral-reef development by USGS and University of Hawai'i collaborators. The talk was recorded for airing on Public Access Television in Kailua-Kona.

On November 11, Grossman and Storlazzi joined other scientists, including USGS geologist Mike Field, to brief Department of the Interior (DOI) Assistant Secretary Mark Limbaugh on coastal research being conducted in the Hawaiian Islands by various DOI agencies (see related article, this issue).

On November 16, Grossman delivered an invited talk on USGS mapping in coastal and marine environments to approximately 100 high-school students and teachers as part of Kealakehe High School's GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Day. This event included presentations and displays by local and State professionals, such as ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute), Hawai'i County, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, Forest Solutions (a privately owned forest-management group), Hawai'i Community College, and the University of Hawai'i, Hilo. Logan presented posters and maps to the group.

Later in the day, Grossman led several high-school teachers, students, and parents on a 1-hour field trip to a USGS field location in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, where research projects for four students were initiated. These projects will contribute to USGS studies of the effects of submarine ground-water discharge and the coastal processes that influence shoreline morphology. Three projects in particular will provide monthly to bimonthly data on:

  • temperature and salinity variations and algae cover at several intertidal sites where algae growth is increasing, probably owing to excess nutrients percolating through the beach in submarine ground-water discharge.
  • temperature and salinity measurements in the water column, using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in an area of Kaloko-Honokohau Harbor bordering the National Park where the USGS is using moored instruments and periodic mapping to monitor the persistence and temporal/spatial variations in submarine-ground-water-discharge plumes.
  • coastal morphologic change resulting from seasonal wave exposure.

The students are implementing these projects under the supervision of Larry Rice, who heads the Kealakehe High School GIS and ROV development program.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Department of the Interior Briefing on Coastal Research in Hawai'i
Dec. 2005 / Jan. 2006
Coastal Landforms and Historical Shoreline Change on the West Coast of Hawai'i
May 2004
Mapping National Parks on the Big Island of Hawai'i
February 2004

Related Web Sites
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
National Park Service

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in this issue: Fieldwork
cover story:
USGS Scientists Investigate New Orleans Levees

special feature:
Post-Katrina Cleanup—a Volunteer's Reflections

Offshore Impacts of Hurricane Katrina

Sediment-Toxicity Studies in Western Long Island Sound

Sea-Floor Geology Off Massachusetts Coast

Alvin Dives to Deep-Water Coral Habitats

Research Study Links Urbanization to Amphibian Decline

Outreach San Francisco Bay Floor Explored

Briefing on Coastal Research in Hawai'i

USGS Research on the Kona Coast, Hawai'i

Meetings Third International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals

Awards Award for USGS Map Hawaii's Volcanoes Revealed

Staff USGS Citizen Soldier on the Move!

Native-Plant Landscaping in Florida

Publications New Book on Benthic Habitats and the Effects of Fishing

Dec. 2005 / Jan. 2006 Publications List

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