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New program addresses marine conservation


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POSTED: Friday, February 20, 2009

Reef Watch Waikiki, a new community-based education and coastal monitoring program, will train volunteers to act as teachers to tourists and residents, and gather valuable data about marine resources.

The project, under the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, was launched under a $44,997 grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority's Natural Resource Program.

“;The short-term goal is to promote and support community stewardship of Mamala Bay,”; explained Jennifer Barrett, the UH coordinator. “;Reef Watch Waikiki will provide a means for the community to play a role in ensuring proper management of marine resources in Waikiki.”;

Currently, there is no unified effort to monitor, protect or restore the coastal and marine resources of Waikiki, a release said.

The new program will join with the Waikiki Improvement Association to involve businesses and residents within the tourist destination.

Reef Watch Waikiki will use education to empower communities to care for the environment - lessons learned from two other Sea Grant projects, the Hanauma Bay Education Program and Kahaluu Bay's ReefTeach program in Kona, a release said.

For more information, visit www.soest.hawaii.edu/SEAGRANT or call Cindy Knapman at 956-7410.