The State of Hawai'i has over 90 water bodies that are considered "impaired" under State and Federal standards.
Your support enables us to actively monitor and improve water quality. Ola i ka wai - Water Is Life.
The first Waterkeeper project in Hawai‘i was the restoration of native oysters. Oysters are known for their ability to improve water quality and clarity by removing pollutants including sediment, bacteria, heavy metals, PCBs, oil, microplastics and nutrients from the water column. Oysters also remove carbon from the water and use it to build their shells, underscoring their importance in our changing climate and marine environment.
Over 30,000 native oysters (Dendostrea sandvichensis) produced at the Pacific Aquaculture & Coastal Resources Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo have been restored to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the Marine Corps Base at Kane‘ohe Bay, the Hawai'i Yacht Club and the Waikiki Yacht Club in the Ala Wai Harbor, and Honolulu Community College's Marine Education & Training Center at Sand Island. Native oysters have also been restored to Hilo Bay on Hawai'i Island and Nomilu Fishpond on Kaua'i.
Two years into the restoration, the oysters have inspired land-based efforts by Waterkeepers, including cleanup events, educational presentations, storm drain stenciling projects, microplastics research, and monitoring for wastewater indicators using sucralose and optical brighteners. All of the efforts are aimed at addressing and reducing land-based sources of pollution before they arrive in our nearshore waters.
The restoration project is modeled after similar efforts involving oysters for bioremediation. Restoration projects in Hawai'i are made possible with support from private donors including Douglas Emmett, the Chee Family Foundation, the Sangham Foundation, the Van Konynenburg Foundation, the Dreiseszun Family Foundation, and the Omidyar 'Ohana Fund at the Hawai'i Community Foundation.
Learn more about our native oyster restoration and local water quality challenges.
There's much to see on our website and on social media. Please take your time, look around, and learn about the ways we all impact water quality. Mahalo!
Copyright © 2021 Waiwai Ola Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands - All Rights Reserved.
Artwork by Solomon Enos.
Photo Credits: Waterkeeper Alliance photos: John Wathen; Oysters photos - Example of Black-lip Pearl Oysters Growing on Lines: Photo by Arthur Read, Smaller Native Hawaiian Oysters: Photo by Dr. Maria Haws; Painting of Queen Lili'uokalani from Ali'i Place: Photo by Rhiannon Chandler-'Iao