Monitoring the quality of water allows for implementation and mitigation actions to prevent and deter environmental degradation. An increase in macroalgal growth has been observed in recent years throughout the Mesoamerican Reef System (MAR). There is a need for better data on levels and sources of nutrient pollution in the MAR. To respond to this need, a coordinated effort has been launched between Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Coral Reef Alliance Coastal Zone Management Authority & Institute Southern Environmental Association and Hol Chan Marine Reserve to collect data that will help to understand the humans impacts derived from wastewater, in the initial phase and then expand to include nutrient enrichment arising from urban, agricultural, industrial, and tourist sources. This data will support the efforts to implement specific solutions to improve local and regional water quality.
The HCMR team has been busy this past week collecting water quality samples, and samples for stable isotopes to be analyzed in the lab, as well as collecting on-site data for parameters such as dissolved oxygen, chorophyll, and turbidity (how clear the water is). The team will continue to collect monthly samples on the east and west side of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker for analysis. The HCMR team is happy to do its part in this regional effort.