Value of Watershed Conservation

Linking climate, forests, and limu: Examining the influence of environmental change on groundwater dependent ecosystems in Kona July 26, 2023 By Leah Bremer, Brytne Okuhata, Jade Delevaux, Angela Richards Doná, Celia Smith, Veronica Gibson, Henrietta Dulai, Aly El Kadi, Kosta Stamoulis, Kimberly Burnett, Christopher Wada Summary: Climate change and increased groundwater pumping are likely to increase the habitat suitability of an invasive seaweed and decrease the abundance of a native and culturally important limu species… Read More
Effects of Multiple Drivers of Environmental Change on Native and Invasive Macroalgae in Nearshore Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems July 26, 2023 New UHERO Environment and collaborator publication in Water Resources Research demonstrates the connections between forest management, groundwater pumping, climate change and nearshore groundwater dependent ecosystems in Kona, Hawaiʻi. Abstract: Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDE) are increasingly recognized as critical components of sustainable groundwater management, but are threatened by multiple drivers of environmental change. Despite this importance,… Read More
What’s a (Better) Beach Day Worth? Economic Valuation of Changes in Waikīkī Beach Characteristics May 24, 2023 Abstract: Whether beach nourishment, an established beach management measure, is justified depends on its benefits and costs. We apply a discrete choice experiment at Waikīkī Beach on Oʻahu with mixed logit and latent class models to evaluate recreationists’ willingness to pay for changes in beach width and water clarity as well as the preferences for… Read More
wetland Groundwater management for people and ecosystems under a changing climate: Insights from the Puʻuloa aquifer July 26, 2021 By Leah Bremer, Ahmed Elshall, Christopher Wada, Laura Brewington, Jade Delevaux, Aly El-Kadi, Clifford Voss, and Kimberly Burnett Summary:New research from the University of Hawaiʻi ʻIke Wai project indicates that current legal limits on withdrawals from the Puʻuloa (Pearl Harbor) aquifer, the primary water source for Oʻahu, are not sufficient to protect this important resource.… Read More
Priority watershed management areas for groundwater recharge and drinking water protection: a case study from Hawai‘i Island May 15, 2021 Worldwide, water utilities and other water users increasingly seek to finance watershed protection and restoration in order to maintain or enhance water quality and quantity important for drinking water supply and other human use. Hydrologic studies which characterize the relative effectiveness of watershed management activities in terms of metrics important to water users are greatly… Read More
Effects of land cover and watershed protection futures on sustainable groundwater management in a heavily-utilized aquifer in Hawai‘i April 21, 2021 Groundwater sustainability initiatives, including sustainable yield and watershed policy protection policies, are growing globally in response to increasing demand for groundwater, coupled with concerns about the effects of climate and land-cover change on groundwater supply. Improved understanding of the impacts of watershed management on groundwater yields and management costs—particularly in the broader context of climate… Read More
Optimal multi-instrument management of interrelated resources and a groundwater dependent ecosystem September 1, 2020 We develop and operationalize an integrated groundwater and watershed management model using data from the Kīholo aquifer on the west coast of Hawai'i Island. Results from a numerical simulation suggest that investment in fencing (passive management) is preferred to invasive species removal (active management) if we are limited to selecting a single conservation tool. However,… Read More
Photo of 'Ohi'a from unsplash Economic benefits of hydrologic services from watershed protection and restoration August 17, 2020 Watershed protection and restoration provide a range of benefits including clean and ample water supplies, biodiversity, cultural connection to place, carbon sequestration, and a suite of other ecosystem services. Research by UHERO’s Environmental Policy and Planning Group demonstrates the economic benefits of native forest protection and restoration for groundwater recharge, pointing to the value of… Read More
Roles of institutions and stakeholders involved in water producer projects UHERO’s Leah Bremer on Supporting real-world watershed management August 14, 2020 UHERO’s Leah Bremer's recent publication in Water Resources Research was featured in the Global Water Forum this week. She and a team of interdisciplinary colleagues worked with on-the-ground managers of watershed protection programs in Brazil to identify real-world decision contexts where hydrologic modeling and monitoring can support planning and decision making. They demonstrate the importance… Read More
Identifying priority watershed management areas for groundwater recharge protection on Hawai‘i Island Identifying priority watershed management areas for groundwater recharge protection on Hawai‘i Island February 6, 2020 This report provides an analysis of the relative effectiveness of watershed conservation and restoration efforts in terms of groundwater recharge benefits in Hawaiʻi County Department of Water Supply (DWS) priority aquifers and recharge areas. In Kohala, Kona, and Kaʻū. With financial support from DWS and the National Science Foundation, EPSCoR ʻIke Wai project, this study… Read More
Mountain-to-sea ecological-resource management: forested watersheds, coastal aquifers, and groundwater dependent ecosystems February 1, 2020 Improving the understanding of connections spanning from mountain to sea and integrating those connections into decision models have been increasingly recognized as key to effective coastal resource management. In this paper, we aim to improve our understanding of the relative importance of linkages between a forested watershed, a coastal groundwater aquifer, and a nearshore marine… Read More
Contributions of native forest protection to local water supplies in East Maui October 20, 2019 Tropical forests provide a suite of benefits including biodiversity, cultural value, and a range of ecosystem services. Globally, there is increasing interest in incentivizing native forest protection as a multi-benefit natural infrastructure strategy to secure clean and ample water supplies. In addition to conversion to agriculture and other non-forest land uses, non-native species invasion represents… Read More
Context: Future of Native Forest Forest protection provides important cost savings to water utility on Maui October 8, 2019 By Leah Bremer Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization and Water Resources Research Center partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi to evaluate how native forest conservation contributes to local water supplies in a water stressed area in East Maui. They found that by preventing the degradation of native forest, conservation efforts… Read More
Identifying Areas of Cost-effective Watershed Management for Groundwater Recharge Protection on Hawai‘i island January 22, 2019 In collaboration with the County of Hawai‘i Department of Water Supply (DWS), we identified three priority management areas on Hawai‘i Island: Kohala, Kona, and Kaʻū. These critical recharge areas were identified by DWS as important recharge areas for four aquifers where current withdrawals are near current or future sustainable yield limits: Mahukona, Waimea, Keauhou, and… Read More
Economic Valuation of The Nature Conservancy’s Watershed Conservation Activities in Waikamoi Preserve, Maui April 3, 2018 The objective of this research was to estimate the value of ecosystem services protected by watershed conservation activities at The Nature Conservancy’s Waikamoi Preserve on the island of Maui. Projections of monetized benefits, together with trajectories of conservation costs, were used to calculate net present value, payback period, and return on investment. UHERO Report Read More