The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today a new National Estuarine Research Reserve, the 29th in the system, and the first in more than six years. Estuarine reserves protect a section of an estuary and provide a living laboratory to explore and understand the important areas where rivers meet the sea. The reserve will be managed in partnership with the State of Hawaiʻi through the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).
The 1,385-acre Heʻeia National Estuarine Research Reserve encompasses upland forests and grasslands, wetlands, reefs and seagrass beds, as well as the largest sheltered body of water in the Hawaiian Island chain. It is located within the Kāneʻohe Bay estuary on the windward side of Oʻahu and includes significant historic and cultural resources.
HIMB will operate the reserve, while NOAA provides national programmatic leadership, guidance and funding. “We are excited about this partnership and the scientific research and practical management opportunities it provides,” said Ruth Gates, HIMB director. “The reserve will benefit our researchers, students, and the community as a whole.”