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Terrestrial Nutrient and Sediment Fluxes to the Coastal Waters of West Maui, Hawai'i

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Title:Terrestrial Nutrient and Sediment Fluxes to the Coastal Waters of West Maui, Hawai'i
Authors:Soicher, A.J.
Peterson, F.L.
Date Issued:Jul 1997
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Soicher AJ, Peterson FL. 1997. Terrestrial nutrient and sediment fluxes to the coastal waters of West Maui, Hawai'i. Pac Sci 51(3): 221-232.
Abstract:Water-quality degradation is often linked to land use practices in
adjacent and upstream areas. Such linkages are here explored for the Lahaina District
of Maui, Hawai'i, where severe algae blooms in 1989 and 1991 prompted public
concern and a subsequent search for the factors contributing to algal growth. Because
we expected that elevated nutrient levels might play a role in the blooms, this study
examined the nutrient and sediment budgets from terrestrial sources entering the
coastal waters. Although our work did not show any definitive causal relationship
between algal growth and terrestrial nutrient and sediment loading, it clearly established
that the principal agricultural activities in the area of sugarcane and pineapple
cultivation contribute elevated loads of nutrients and sediments to the coastal waters.
Likewise, disposal of treated domestic sewage effluent into subsurface injection
wells contributes substantial nutrient loads to the coastal waters. Conversely, golf
courses appear to have negligible impacts on the nutrient and sediment loading of
coastal waters in the area. Finally, although groundwater discharges substantially
greater annual nutrient loads than streamflow, the groundwater discharge is fairly
evenly distributed in time and is dispersed over nearly 25 km of shoreline. Streamflow,
however, often discharges intensely for short periods of time at a few discrete
locations, and thus may have substantial impact locally on coastal water quality.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 51, Number 3, 1997

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