SMART Ala Wai will be a significant initiative that synergistically bridges UH System and UH Manoa strategic priorities. Through the use of cutting-edge sensors and instrumentation, we are well-aligned with the Hawaii Innovation and 21st Century Facilities initiatives. Our work is driven by an overarching theme of ecosystem function, restoration, and resilience, giving us relevance to UHM C-MĀIKI and Sustainability and Resilience Initiatives. Because we will be establishing a (student-led) observation and sampling network that will provide web-enabled database and visualization workflows, we also incorporate aspects of the Data Science initiative.
The Ala Wai urban corridor contains key University facilities, public and private K-12 schools, and other institutions that help drive the State economy and affect the daily lives of residents and visitors. The watershed has been heavily impacted by, and remains at risk from, episodic flooding hazards, runoff pollution, and habitat destruction, all of which remain to be fully quantified and understood from a holistic ecosystem function perspective. The proposed data-collection network, combined with land-use and other geocoded data, will yield a unique data set with sufficient spatial and temporal detail to allow a significantly improved understanding of the hydrological and biogeochemical functioning of the complete Ala Wai ecosystem. It will also provide a wide range of opportunities for undergraduate research and future extramural support, and will provide a means for UHM to engage with K-12 teachers, students, and the greater community, including non-profit environmental groups and local businesses, thus elevating UHM science and engineering students as key participants in the Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration endorsed by the Hawaii Legislature.