Mālama Maunalua has continuously monitored the invasive alien algae in Paiko Restoration Area to help measure and keep track of the effectiveness of the huki program. This effort is led by board member and marine scientist Dr. Leighton Taylor and marine scientist and volunteer Dr. Ralph Dykes.
Mālama Maunalua designates 10 x 10 square meter plots for every huki event. These 10 x 10m plots are constructed with 10 meter yellow ropes and buoys attached to mark the endpoints of the plots. 10 x 10m plots are selected based on a few criteria: Distance from the beach, huki group size, and the percentage of leather mudweed in the area. The plots are set up closer to the shore for groups with smaller children and farther out for adult groups. This allows Mālama Maunalua to assess a larger area of the Bay. The huki group size plays a role in deciding how many 10 x 10m plots are set up. For larger groups of 50 people or more, four 10 x 10m plots are selected. However, for smaller groups only two plots may need to be set up. The area is chosen based on the percentage of leather mudweed, which is the worst type of invasive alien algae in the Bay. It traps sediment and slows down water movement. Areas that contain about 50-60% of leather mudweed are often selected for hukis.
Once the plots are set up, assessments of the plots are performed before and after the huki to see how much of the following types of algae are within the plot: leather mudweed, gorilla ogo, prickly seaweed, and other (native or invasive). The plots are assessed by using a 1 square meter quadrat divided into a grid with 25 intersections. For each 10 x 10m plot, the quadrat is randomly thrown in four different directions (NE, SE, SW, and NW). Once the quadrat is thrown, the invasive algae types are recorded under each of the 25 intersections for each direction.
One of Mālama Maunalua’s partners, the Nature Conservancy, has been greatly involved in monitoring and conducting assessments in Maunalua Bay. The Nature Conservancy provides Mālama Maunalua with survey points that are randomly selected each month within the 23 acres of the Bay. Mālama Maunalua assesses each of these points with the quadrats. In addition to the invasive algae, the sediment depth is also measured. This is done by placing a stick into the sand until it reaches the bottom and then the buried section of the stick is measured.