How to report muddy runoff

Is the ocean water near you brown from runoff and sedimentation?

Would you like to help document what’s going on via citizen science efforts? The community-based Turbidity Task Force on Maui is a way to do so…

It’s really simple… grab a sample of water, collect some information, and bring it to the Killa Wiffa Surf Shop in Honokowai (West Maui) or the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (South Maui, 726 South Kihei Rd), where trained water quality monitoring volunteers can read the sample using the turbidity meters housed there and upload the data to the Coral Reef Monitoring Data Portal (

You can download the Turbidity Task Force form from

How to take a sample for the Turbidity Task Force:

Water Sampling Instructions (can be downloaded from:

  1. Safety First – Do not trespass, enter rough surf or fast moving water
  2. Keep samples on ice or refrigerate (?4degrees C).
  3. Within 40 hours of sample collection, bring to a meter station for reading, recording and entry into the Coral Reef Monitoring Data Portal-
  4. Record Location (Example: Honolua Bay rivermouth); full name and phone number
  5. Observe water body and shoreline or stream bank;
  6. Position yourself on shore or in water with sample vial opening facing opposite direction of water movement (facing upstream/up current of your body)
    1. For in water sampling, hold vial in water at desired depth (surface, 2/3 or 1/3 of total depth), remove cap and completely fill vial with no bubbles.  Recap at sampling depth
    2. From shore or bank sample surface only, remove cap prior to dipping vial into water at the surface
    3. If sampling a source of water entering a water body (stream, etc.) take two additional samples up and down flow from source

7. Fill out Chain of Custody Record: Bottle number, sample site, date, time, type of water (example Ocean, stream,  pond, storm runoff)

8. Provide a sketch or written description of sample location

9. Keep chain of custody and other kit materials with sample, if you give it to someone else to deliver, fill out the sample transfer form.

10.   Please return reusable kit including instructions to the meter station and pick up a new kit for next time

The Turbidity Task Force is a community-based monitoring program sponsored by The Save Honolua Coalition, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council and partners including Aquanimity Now, Coral Reef Alliance, Digital Bus, Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary in cooperation with local community groups.

Documenting Runoff & Sedimentation Events:

Keep a log with dates and times of observations – rainfall, water levels, stream flow changes, color of stream, presence of debris, etc (See the visual assessment protocol for ideas)

Take photos of upstream and downstream.  If there is a tributary flow (contributing stream from natural streams or roads, driveways, sites etc,) take pictures of the stream upstream of it entering and downstream.

Take actual measurements of water lines, debris lines, mudlines, when it is safe to;  before the forensic evidence disappears.  A picture of a mud or water line with a ruler or tape in the picture is best.  Pictures with recorded measurements also good.


Honolua Bay during a sedimentation event, May 17, 2005 (however it looks just like this now, 12/14/11)

Honolua Bay during a sedimentation event, May 17, 2005 (however it looks just like this now, 12/14/11)