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NCCOS Completes Marine Biogeographic Assessment of Main Hawaiian Islands

Published on: 10/12/2016
Research Area(s): Marine Spatial Ecology
Region(s) of Study: U.S. States and Territories / Hawaii

Trade winds blowing at Kualoa Point, O’ahu. Credit: NOAA.

The state of Hawai’i is working to develop local renewable energy sources to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, primarily by exploring opportunities with offshore wind. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), responsible for regulating the leasing, construction, and operation of most renewable energy projects in federal waters, partnered with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science toevaluate potential coastal and marine impacts from these projects through a biogeographic assessment of the marine ecosystems surrounding the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI).


The Hawaiian monk seal is endemic to the archipelago. Credit: NOAA.


Gold coral (Kulamanamana haumeaae) found on a Hawaiian reef. Credit: NOAA.

Funded by BOEM, NCCOS worked in collaboration with federal, state, academic and non-governmental organizations to synthesize existing data from years of research around the MHI. The results of the assessment were compiled into a report , interactive map and spatial data sets, describing the physical environment, and distribution of benthic habitats and corals, fishes, sea turtles, marine mammals and sea birds around the islands.

This assessment will help lay a foundation for BOEM’s future environmental reviews of renewable energy project proposals offshore of the MHI. In addition to providing BOEM with the most comprehensive and current information available, the report and its products will be useful in coastal and ocean management efforts by the state of Hawai’i and other partners.

For more informationcontact Bryan.Costa@noaa.gov or Matt.Kendall@noaa.gov, andvisit the project web page at: https://coastalscience.noaa.gov/projects/detail?key=163

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National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
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Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
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