Hanalei Watershed Hui sets meeting on Hanalei river, bay

Is the water in the Hanalei River and Hanalei Bay clean?

Is it safe to swim in and fish from the river and bay?

Those will be among the questions that are likely to be asked at a meeting representatives with the Hanalei Watershed Hui have scheduled at the Hanalei School at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9.

The meeting is being held to discuss the results of four years of data collection that involved taking test samples and analysis of enterococcus, a bacteria that can cause diseases.

The bacteria is naturally found as part of the digestive tract flora in many organisms, including humans.

An enterococcus infection can cause abdominal infections, skin infections, urinary tract problems and infection of the blood system.

The study focus on the presence of bacteria in the bay, river and three streams that feed water to the bay, not drinking water, said Maka‘ala Ka‘aumoana, executive director of Hanalei Watershed Hui.

“The data collection was to determine what is in the water. The community wants to know whether there are things in the water that can make them sick,” she said.

The project was spurred in part because of community interest in the quality of the water in the Hanalei watershed. The river and bay are home to marine life and are top recreational attractions for residents and visitors alike.

The collection of the data was done by Dr. Carl Berg, the hui’s chief scientist and a biologist, and Jan Surface, a hydrologist, Ka‘aumoana said. Both will be making the presentation on their findings at Thurday’s meeting.

Information on the data can be viewed on www.hanaleiriver.org. For more explanations, contact the Hanalei Watershed Hui at the telephone number on the Web site.

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