Pacific Islands Region Ecosystem-Based Management Activities

The Pacific Islands region encompasses 50 percent of the US Exclusive Economic Zone, including American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and other U.S. Pacific islands. This unique geography is also tied to a high vulnerability to hazards and climate variability that threatens the islands’ endemic species and high number of endangered species and the communities that rely on these resources.

Pacific Islands Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (Kona Coast)

Hawaii’s  Kona coast  is a dynamic ecological region home to a diverse group of species including ornamental fish, lush coral reefs, sea turtles, cetaceans and manta rays. The Kona coast is also home to eco-tourism,  aquaculture industry, recreational and aquarium fisheries, and an annual billfish tournament hosted in Kona. This combination presents many potential management issues now and in the future. A balance of these human activities with the natural processes along the Kona coast is important to sustain ecosystem health in this important region.

Pacific Islands IEA Website

Coral Reef Ecosystem Division

The mission of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) is to provide high-quality scientific information about the status and trends of coral reef ecosystems within the central and western Pacific to resource managers, policymakers, and public at domestic and international levels. To inform the implementation of EBM and conservation strategies, CRED leads a program devoted to coral reef ecosystem assessment and long-term monitoring, benthic habitat mapping, and oceanographic and water-quality studies, and applied research in the Hawaiian Archipelago, Mariana Archipelago (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), American Samoa, and Pacific Remote Island Areas. CRED is also involved in   international efforts such as the Coral Triangle Initiative, a multilateral partnership of six countries working together to sustain extraordinary marine and coastal resources by addressing crucial issues such as food security, climate change and marine biodiversity.

Coral Reef Ecosystem Division Website

Habitat Blueprint Pacific Islands Focus Areas

The Habitat Focus Areas under NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint are areas identified by regional experts and intended to increase the effectiveness of NOAA’s habitat conservation science and management efforts by addressing multiple habitat conservation objectives on a watershed scale. NOAA, our partners, and local communities are engaged in multiple projects on the ground in these areas. NOAA’s investment is part of a long-term effort to rebuild fisheries, recover threatened and endangered species, and support resilient coastal communities nationwide.

Manell-Geus, Guam

Located at the southern tip of Guam, the Manell-Geus watershed contains extensive seagrass beds and coral reefs that support the local village’s strong fishing tradition. The seagrass beds and patch reefs in Cocos Lagoon also provide important forage and resting habitat for sea turtles. The area is threatened by accelerated erosion rates from factors such as wildland fires, feral animals, and off-roading vehicles. Erosion and sedimentation contribute to deteriorating water quality and may have serious impacts to coral health by increasing susceptibility to disease, decreasing growth rates, and affecting coral settlement. In addition, the Manell-Geus watershed has been subjected to repreated biological invasions and overharvesting of species. NOAA is currently working with partners and the local community to develop and test watershed restoration techniques such as streambank stabilization, bamboo removal, and constructing riparian buffers.

West Hawaii

The west side of the Big Island is known for white sandy beaches and coral reefs that make it a popular tourist destination. The region is home to several threatened and endangered species as well as species of concern that are important to Hawaii’s economy, culture, and environment. The area is threatened by numerous environmental challenges including drought, fire, and invasive species. Conditional may worsen as human development progresses; the South Kohala district is one of the fastest growing areas on the Big Island. Land uses range from military, residential, and commercial sites to resort areas and recreational beaches. NOAA has partnered with communities and organizations to host regular coastal marine debris clean ups, invasive species removal efforts, and projects that fall within the strategies of the area’s Conservation Action and Watershed Management Plans.

This represents a sample of the NOAA programs employing EBM in the Pacific Islands region, it is not comprehensive. If there are programs you feel should be included please contact us.