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USGS Cohosts Multiagency Hanalei Watershed Workshop

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Island of Kaua‘i, showing the Hanalei River.
Above: Island of Kauai, showing the Hanalei River. [larger version]

Hanalei Bay.
Above: Sediment and pollutants from the Hanalei River can harm the coral-reef ecosystem in Hanalei Bay. Photograph by M. Field. [larger version]

taro fields
Above: The lower reaches of the Hanalei River are cultivated with taro, which may contribute contaminants and alter streamflow patterns during times of flood. Photograph by M. Field. [larger version]

Close-up of a taro field
Above: Close-up of a taro field. Photograph by S. Cochran. [larger version]

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and other Federal, State, and local agencies convened February 21-22, 2007, in Princeville, Hawai‘i, on the north coast of Kaua‘i, to discuss multidisciplinary studies in the island's Hanalei River watershed. Cohosted by Mike Field of the USGS Pacific Science Center (Santa Cruz, California) and Carl Berg of the Hanalei Watershed Hui, the workshop was initiated to document the scientists' collective understanding, better integrate their results, and identify the salient issues that remain to be studied in the multiagency Ridge to Reef Project, a cooperative effort to explain how changing tropical watersheds are affecting coral ecosystems and coastal habitats.

To better understand impacts on the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of Hawai‘i, the organizers fashioned a series of questions designed to focus the knowledge and expertise of the workshop participants on the interplay of processes in the Hanalei River watershed, from Mount Wai‘ale‘ale (the highest point in the watershed) to the reefs of Hanalei Bay:

  • How is sediment generated in the watershed?
  • How is sediment transported in the watershed?
  • How is sediment deposited in the lower watershed?
  • How is sediment deposited in the bay and beyond?
  • What is the flow of nutrients and pathogens via ground water and surface flow?
  • How are terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems affected?
  • What management actions are needed to improve water quality and reduce pollution threats to corals?

Participants spoke on a range of topics, including such watershed problems as slope failure, invasive species, feral ungulates, and pollution; the effects of these problems on the coral reef; issues for future study; and possible management paths. A collection of abstracts from the workshop will soon be published as a USGS Open-File Report.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Portable Underwater Photographic Tripod for Coral-Reef Studies
Jan. / Feb. 2007

Related Web Sites
Hanalei Watershed Hui
non-profit organization
Western Coastal & Marine Geology
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Santa Cruz & Menlo Park, CA

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cover story:
New Bathymetric Map of Mona Passage

Research Beam Time at the Stanford Linear Accelerator

Tar Balls Washed Onto California Beaches

Outreach USGS Scientists Judge Science Fairs

Job Shadowing at National Wetlands Research Center

Meetings Florida Shelf Mapping Workshop Identifies State Priorities

Hanalei Watershed Workshop

Staff and Center News New Research Oceanographer Joins Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

New Research Geologist Joins Western Coastal and Marine Geology Team

Four New Postdoctoral Fellows Will Research Coastal and Marine Topics


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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)