Maui News

Excess Algae Blooms Attributed to Land Based Nutrients

December 2, 2008, 8:00 AM HST
* Updated January 5, 1:54 PM
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The presence of algae blooms along problem areas of Maui’s coastline, is being driven in part by an excess of land based nutrients.   That’s what University of Hawaii researcher Meghan Dailer concluded from studies conducted along Maui’s Shorelines where excess algal blooms have become a nuisance.

Photo by Wendy Osher. Click image to enlarge.

Large deposits of hypnea musiformis and ulva fasciata at Waipuilani Beach in South Maui has resulted in daily removal efforts to prevent the material from piling up and rotting on shore.   At Tavares Bay in Paia, low nitrogen values suggest agricultural runoff as a contributing factor.

During a presentation to the county’s Water Resources Committee yesterday, Dailer explained that while higher values of nitrogen would indicate sewage from injection wells, lower levels are a likely indicator of fertilizer from runoff. At Kahului Harbor, the smelly scene 10 years ago is no longer the case.

County Aquatic Resource officials attributed the decline in algae there to the diversion of wash water from the pineapple cannery operations that was being injected through wells, but is now being deposited in cane fields instead.

(Posted: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 © Wendy Osher –  Pacific Radio Group,


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