Adoption of Erosion Rate-Based Setbacks in Maui, Hawaii: Observations and Lessons Learned

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Zoe M. Norcross-Nu’u and T. Abbott


 Inadequate construction setbacks over the last century on the Hawaiian island of Maui have led to a heavy reliance on shoreline armoring for structures now facing erosion crises. Along 56 miles of sandy shoreline, over 370 shore protection structures, such as seawalls, revetments and groins, have been built, nearly two thirds of which have been identified in an unpublished study as likely having a negative impact on the adjacent sandy beach. In November 2003, Maui County set a precedent for shoreline protection among the counties of Hawaii by being the first to adopt erosion rate-based construction setback rules. The process of producing erosion rate data and creating and adopting the new setback rules took over 5 years. A significant amount of input was received from the public through an advisory committee, public workshops and public hearings. Following the adoption of the new rules, planning and permitting situations have arisen that have revealed limitations in the rules. These issues are currently being addressed on a case-by-case basis, but it is likely that further amendments will be necessary.

From Paper to Park – Marine Protected Areas of the Northern Mariana Islands

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“From Paper to Park – Marianas style”. The Isle of Managaha stands as a sentinel to Saipan’s rich marine resources. Burial site of Chief Aghurubw, the island stood as a ‘quiet sanctuary’ through a cultural line of command for nearly half a millenium. But beginning in the mid-1980’s the island became a beacon to millions of Japanese and Asian tourists who relax on the islands pristine beaches and play in the warm waters of the lagoon. Located centrally to a barrier reef, the waters surrounding Managaha Isle harbor significant coral and fishery resources. These resources offer tour operations a natural attraction enjoyed from glass bottom boats, submersibles, parasails, jetskis, banana boats, and dinner cruises. Marine sports activities such as SCUBA and snorkeling, wind surfing, and other recreational activities produce millions of dollars annually. These same reef resources provide half of the fish consumed on Island and the corals provides a key ingredient, afuk, for beetle-nut chewing. Moreover, the reef stops typhoon storm surge from eroding Saipans shoreline and minimizes waves so that recreational activities can flourish in the lagoon. In recognition of declining water quality, over-fishing, and intense commercial development, the Legislature passed the Managaha Marine Conservation Act, 2000. It protects the Isle and its surrounding waters by prohibiting all human activities, except as permitted by regulation. This paper highlights the process of turning an un-funded mandate into a working reality. We discuss how protecting this valuable natural resource is balanced with the conflicting needs and interests of tour operators, fishermen, traditional practitioners, and government agencies. Further, we share lessons learned and success achieved so that others may benefit from turning “Paper to Park: Marianas style”.

An Assessement of Governance Indicators for the Bird Island Sanctuary

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An Assessement of 16 Governance Indicators for the Bird Island Sanctuary were made as part of an IUCN/WWF supported Marine Protected Area Management Effectiveness Indicators study. The study included 23 test sites from around the world and preliminary results of the study were released at the World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa in September 2003. This assessment is a contribution to that publication in which a number of protected area professionals and practitioners contributed to the overall goal of developing indicators and metrics of marine protected area management effectiveness. The assessment was conducted as follow on from a workshop held the prior year (October 2002) in Honolulu, Hawaii where representatives from each test site reviewed, discussed, debated, and selected appropriate indicators for thier marine protected area.

The Saipan Upland Mitigation Bank: Crafting a workable management plan for preservation of the Nightingale Reed-warbler.

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The Saipan Upland Mitigation Bank (SUMBA) was developed in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to serve as mitigation for the incidental take of Nightingale Reed-warblers (Acrocephalus luscinia) by public and private development projects on the island of Saipan. The SUMBA consists of a 419 hectare protected area that provides habitat for the Nightingale Reed-warbler (NIRW) as well as other threatened and endangered species. The management plan outlines activities that will contribute to the conservation of the species and ensure the long-term viability of NIRW by maintaining the ecological function of optimum habitat. The plan identifies strategies to achieve the performance standards, identifies appropriate wildlife resource stewardship strategies, fire management, resource monitoring, applied research, and restrictions on use of the area to achieve the SUMBA’s objectives. A secondary objective is to increase the number of credits available for sale and to increase understanding of the ecology of NIRW, thereby providing a range of alternative actions available to managers. Integral to the management plan is an adaptive management process that evaluates ongoing efforts, identifies positive or negative results, and modifies strategies to achieve performance standards. This process will prioritize long range (such as research) and short term (such as reactionary) needs, and ensure a balance between obtaining and applying useful information in order to achieve the goals of the SUMBA. The process also ensures that managers have flexibility in responding to changing circumstances and can meet the SUMBA performance standards in perpetuity. This paper will highlight the challenges of crafting a plan for perpetual protection of a species and the unexpected problems encountered in implementing the plan. We hope to share lessons learned and assist others in streamlining their efforts to protect species while incorporating realistic expectations given economic, cultural, and political concerns.

Constructed Wetlands in Southeast Asian Environments

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One need not travel far within Southeast Asia before the weight of abject poverty is striking. Humanity is
cheap: dysentery, disease and hardship run like the hot and cold spigots of Americans in the opulent
$500,000 two-bath, four-bedroom homes. For all our wealth, there is an equivalently exponential
relationship of hardship among the majority of Southeast Asians. The impoverished many, suffering
diseases that are unthinkable to the rich western few. In the Philippines alone, the leading cause of death
for children under five years of age is dehydrating diarrhea; a discomfort for us that is readily solved with
tablets or pills. So how can we affect this dearth of human suffering? This paper illustrates a low tech, low
cost, environmentally sound, alternative for treating wastewater, thereby improving public health and
enhancing quality of life.  The system allows for treatment of wastewater and biosolids (residuals) on-site, while keeping costs minimal, conveyance systems small and easily replaceable, and effluent quality sufficient for discharge to groundwater.

The Use of Ecological Risk Assessments in a Watershed Level Context

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Watershed level risk assessment integrates ecological risk into watershed management. The approach considers the total risk to an aquatic ecosystem and the relative contribution of contaminants of potential concern. This paper considers the development of the approach and offers environmental managers a method to consider the probability of adverse ecological impacts while incorporating social and economic considerations.

Recently, the U.S. EPA developed a “Framework for an Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA)” to control multiple sources of stress on ecosystems. ERAs can be incorporated into watershed management through the use of multi-tiered probablistic assessments. The so-called Watershed Level Risk Assessment (WLRA) integrates ecological risk into watershed management by considering the total risk to an aquatic ecosystem and the relative contribution of contaminants. The WLRA describes resources at risk and defines their value via stakeholder involvement. It describes the costs of protecting various resources, explains the degree of confidence in predicted outcomes, and provides a rationale for management decisions.

The WLRA includes three tiers. Tier One, a screening level risk assessment, produces a ranked list of stressors and ecologically sensitive receptors within a watershed. Tier Two utilizes existing data to estimate and quantify the probability of adverse ecological impacts. Tier Three characterizes, under site-specific conditions, those stressors whose impact is highly uncertain. This process significantly reduces the time and costs of the risk assessment and can reduce uncertainty to a level where educated, realistic management decisions can be made.

The explicit inclusion of uncertainty in input parameters better quantifies the outcome probability and separates WLRAs from other assessment methods. Alternative strategies can then be compared through simulation of total ecosystem health improvement. The approach allows environmental managers to use good science, consider competing needs and desires, and incorporate socially and economic based considerations. By incorporating uncertainty into the risk assessment process, alternative planning strategies can be viewed more realistically.

Environmental Monitoring in Coastal Environments

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The purpose of the study was to determine the effectiveness of using time lapse video photography as a tool for monitoring visitor and vessel use patterns at remote sites in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The study used time lapse video photography to monitor patterns of use at Manta Ray Bay, Hook Island, in the Whitsunday Island chain over a 28 day period. The bay has a well developed fringing reef and is used by commercial and private parties for snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and recreational activities. The video camera was housed in a specially designed monitor housing and powered by gel cells and a solar panel. A programmable microprocessor was used to instruct the camera as to the duration and interval of recorded samples.

The video monitor failed to operate on 16 or 28 monitoring days primarily as a result of inadequate power and failures of the supporting electronic components. When operational, video monitoring described patterns of vessel and visitor use that were consistent with observations made while physically located at the site. Video monitoring described patterns of vessel use such as; vessel size, vessel type, preferential use of moorings, and the times and duration of mooring use.

Video monitoring also described the number of visitors snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the bay and the timing of these visitor activities. Results of the study suggest that vessels moored primarily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and stayed for an average of 2 hours. Although two vessels moored overnight, all other vessels visited the bay for less than 3 hours. Twice as many private vessels were observed in the bay than commercial vessels. However, commercial vessel were viewed twice as often as private vessels and one commercial operator had as many as six excursions to the bay during the sampling period. Vessels ranged from 3 meters to 15 meters in length and the average size of vessels using moorings was 10 meters. Of three moorings in the bay, one mooring was consistently used last, least, and for less than 100 minutes on each occasion.

Visitors were observed in the waters of the bay from 10:15 AM to 5:00 PM. Visitors participated in snorkeling activities primarily in the afternoon and SCUBA diving activities primarily in the late morning and mid-day hours. Overall, snorkeler groups tended to be larger than groups of SCUBA divers. Snorkeling groups had as many as 18 participants, whereas the largest group of SCUBA divers had 7 participants.

Time lapse video monitoring produced more succinct information than current methods of establishing use patterns at the bay, such as the Environmental Management Charge (EMC). In comparison to the EMC, time lapse video monitoring more accurately described the number of commercial vessels using the bay. In addition, video monitoring described private vessels and their activities, whereas the EMC only records information regarding commercial activities. The EMC also detailed the number of passengers on commercial excursions. In comparison, video monitoring described only those visitors participating in snorkeling, swimming, or SCUBA diving activities. Information of this nature can assist marine park managers in knowing if mooring installations and marine park regulations are having their intended effect. For example the average size of vessel utilizing moorings was 10 meters in length. The finding indicates that many of the vessels mooring in the bay are longer than regulations permit. Moreover, of the 33 excursions to the bay, vessels violated marine park regulations 25% of time by mooring for longer than the two hour time limit. Other violations of marine park regulations apparent in video taped samples included; fishing, vessel tethering, hull scrubbing, vessel maintenance, and overnight mooring. Further indices of use included observations of visitors sunbathing, swimming, diving, coral and fish viewing from dinghies, fish feeding, and coral collecting in the bays waters.

The video monitor captured images with enough clarity that vessels, dinghy’s, and visitors could be identified at the far edge of the 300 meter wide bay. The images were clear enough to make determinations regarding the color, size, shape, location, and type of vessels in the bay. Also, the names of commercial operations were legible when the business name was painted on the side or hull of the vessel. Although, most vessel names and registration numbers were not apparent in the video taped samples. In addition, the images were clear enough to distinguish between visitors snorkeling or SCUBA diving and other phenomena in the waters of the bay. Correspondingly, the use of video monitoring to determine visitor activity should be limited to areas of equal or smaller size. Conversely, video monitoring could be utilized to determine vessel activity in an area significantly larger than Manta Ray Bay.

Although the capital costs for this study were large ($5700.00 AUS), the costs of operating a video monitoring system are fairly small when compared to observers physically located at the site. For example, results indicate that the most appropriate sampling strategy for Manta Ray Bay is to record 5 seconds of video footage every 15 minutes from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. This sampling strategy is long enough to capture vessels mooring overnight, frequent enough to capture vessels awaiting moorings or drifting, and long enough in duration to distinguish between snorkeler and SCUBA diving activity and other phenomena in the bay. Given such a sampling strategy, a singular Hi-8 or S-VHS format video tape could be used to record up to 33 days (one month) of video monitoring. With recent advances in technology, video cameras with built in time lapse photographic systems are now available at comparable prices. Consequently, future research initiatives may not require investments in supporting equipment such as the laptop computer, MS-DOS software program, and microprocessor. Consequently, further research to refine the latter two supporting components may not be necessary in the future. However, a more reliable and adequate power source will be needed in future video monitoring initiatives at remote locations.

Video monitoring can assist in determining if environmental management strategies are working effectively. Adherence to regulatory strategies can be determined including the average length of stay, the average size of moored vessels, preferential use of moorings, the number of visitors and their activities, and the level of commercial or recreational use of an area. Information of this nature can assist marine park managers in designing programs and strategies that effectively and efficiently utilize the marine park’s resources. Furthermore, video monitoring can supplement existing forms of data collection, such as the Environmental Management Charge to provide environmental managers with an efficient indication of whether management and regulatory strategies are working effectively at remote sites.

The time lapse video monitoring project at Manta Ray Bay has proven that video monitoring can be an effective tool for establishing and describing patterns of visitor and vessel use at remote locations within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Pathogen Removal and Inactivation in Wastewater Reclamation



Wastewater utilities endeavor to protect human health and the environment through the collection and treatment of wastewater. As human populations increase, so does the demand for augmenting non-potable water resource supplies with reclaimed wastewater. In order to address this demand as well as protect health and the environment, wastewater utilities recognize the need to characterize treatment technologies to reduce pathogens, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, in the water reclamation process.

Several public wastewater utilities within the State of Florida, including St. Petersburg and Broward County, have expressed an interest in such a characterization as future growth may increase the demand for reclaimed effluents. Other potential participants include Miami-Dade, Orlando, Orange County, Cocoa Beach, Reedy Creek, West Palm Beach, and others. Studies of these facilities, and or others like them, will assist the wastewater community in making more informed capital improvement and process optimization decisions.


This study will quantitatively characterize the removal (e.g., geometric mean and variability) of pathogens (e.g., Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp.) from several wastewater treatment unit processes currently in operation. Treatment processes of interest include biological oxidation (activated sludge, etc.), filtration (deep bed, shallow bed, with and without coagulation), and disinfection.

Research Approach

The research approach should involve five separate but related steps: Literature Review, Characterize Unit Processes, Develop Sampling Strategy, Implement Sampling Strategy, and Data Analysis and Reporting. A thorough review of the published and unpublished (“grey”) literature for the unit processes under review should be conducted as part of the first step of this research.

A preliminary identification of currently operating local treatment systems (i.e., State of Florida) along with a characterization of available unit process operating and performance data should be prepared as part of the first two steps of the research endeavor. The information from the literature review and unit process characterization should provide the necessary information to identify data gaps and allow for refinement of the researchers initial sampling strategy.

The Project Manager (PM) will work to identify utility participants and their test sites for this research endeavor (i.e., State of Florida). The PM also will facilitate meetings and correspondence between the successful proposer and identified utility participants. However, proposers to this RFP should specify criteria for the selection of unit processes that will be characterized. In addition, it is expected that a preliminary sampling strategy will be included as part of the proposal submitted in response to this RFP.

A sampling protocol should be developed that allows for appropriate statistical analysis of the data. The relative benefits of relying on in-situ pathogen numbers versus seeding the unit processes should be considered as part of the development of the sampling strategy. Additionally, microbial reduction and inactivation by disinfection should be evaluated relative to the disinfectant treatment parameters. Disinfection parameters could include; disinfectant, species present, dosage, contact time, pH, temperature, mixing and hydraulic flow characteristics, et cetera. Furthermore, the study should include concurrent sampling and analyses for other constituents such as indicator organisms (e.g., total and fecal coliform, E.coli, enterococci, clostridium, and coliphage) and unit operating parameters such as ammonia, suspended solids, process flow rate, and coagulant type & feed concentrations.

Proposers to this RFP should describe how they intend to implement the sampling strategy. The proposal should include, but not be limited to the following information:

  • a preliminary sampling strategy,
  • the unit processes that will be characterized,
  • the statistical approach, including the sampling location, frequency and duration of sampling period that the researcher intends to use to quantitatively characterize the unit process removal performance along with performance variability,
  • the researchers quality assurance procedures that will be followed to ensure the accuracy and reproducibility of the data, and
  • the sampling and analysis methodologies and protocols, including limits of detection for each parameter to be sampled, that will be employed.

The proposal should also include a description of the overall study schedule along with an identification of dates for submittal of status reports, and the draft and final project reports. In addition, the proposal should include the researchers approach to allow for comparison of the results to other treatment facilitie


A peer-reviewed publishable final report, as well as supporting data and analyses, will be developed regarding the expected removal of pathogens (Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp.). The research will also provide a characterization of unit process performance under defined operating conditions. The end product will provide a useful guidance document that can assist public utilities in decision-making regarding the selection, modification, and/or optimization of treatment processes and reclamation practices for the continued protection of public health and the enhancement of water conservation efforts.

Project Duration

1 – 2 years to ensure capture of seasonal variability.

Project Value

$400,000 – $500,000 dependent on sampling parameters

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