NERR Site Selection and Nomination Process

The Office of Planning coordinated the selection and nomination of a site to become a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in Hawaii. On January 19, 2017, Heeia was designated the 29th research reserve in the NERR System (NERRS). Information on the national system can be found here.

In partnership with NOAA, the Heeia NERR will be managed by the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (UH-HIMB) along with the Reserve Advisory Board (RAB), which includes the land managers and partnering organizations.  More information can be found here on the site partners.

The site selection process began in 2013, and more information on this process can be found here.  After receiving applications submitted by interested communities and the University of Hawaii, Heeia was identified as the preferred site.  In May 2014 former Governor Neil Abercrombie submitted a site nomination request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This nomination was approved by NOAA on October 27, 2014.

Image of Management Plan Cover

Heeia NERR Management Plan

The third phase of the process involved the drafting of a NEPA environmental impact statement (EIS) and the development of a Management Plan for the site. This Management Plan (MP) is a guidance document, which was developed with input from the public through comments and in-depth discussions in focus groups in 2015. The draft MP and draft EIS were published and comments were collected according to NOAA’s public comment process in October 2016.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document

We thank you for your participation at public meetings as well as for taking the time to submit comments to support the development of the nomination document in 2014 and the Management Plan and EIS in 2015 as well as the draft EIS and draft MP in 2016.