Maui Possible Next Estuary Research Site
By Sonia Isotov
The Hawaii State Office of Planning’s Coastal Zone Management Program is seeking proposals from the general public, community groups, and the research and educational communities for an estuarine research reserve site in the state.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) is a network of 28 reserves that represent different biogeographic regions of the United States. These reserves are living laboratories established for long-term research, water quality monitoring, and education and coastal stewardship.
According to a spokesperson for the Office of Planning, currently the Pacific region is not represented in the network, which means a site designated in Hawaii will add to the network’s diversity and provide a new resource for researching coastal issues that are of concern in the Pacific.
“Estuaries are where freshwater meets the sea, completing the mauka-to-makai link,” said Jesse Souki, director of the state Office of Planning. “These ecosystems support a variety of plant and aquatic life that Hawaii’s communities rely upon for food, recreation, and cultural practices. A NERRS site will help us better understand how these ecosystems function so that we can ensure these resources are available for current and future generations.”
Proposed sites will undergo an evaluation process, which will consider the site’s suitability for long-term research and educational potential.
Criteria to determine site suitability can be found at http://planning.hawaii.gov/czm/initiatives/nerrs-site-proposal-process/ along with further information. Proposals are due by May 15, 2013. Questions can be directed to Rebecka Arbin (808) 587-2831.