Hawaii’s Site Selection and Nomination Process

Process Image

Overview of the three phases of the site selection and nomination process (click for enlarged image)

The Governor designated the Office of Planning as the lead agency for the site selection process in his letter to NOAA in 2012. The Governor received approval from NOAA to begin the site selection and nomination process at the end of 2012.

Phase I of this process involved developing site selection criteria; forming a Site Selection Committee (SSC) to approve the criteria; forming a Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) to perform a technical review of proposed NERR sites; and soliciting proposals from the public.

To solicit proposals, The Office of Planning’s Coastal Zone Management Program (CZM) issued a public request for proposed NERR sites in Hawaii. During the initial solicitation period between April 17 and May 15, CZM received inquiries from all four counties, and one site proposal – Heeia Estuary on Oahu. After an extension of  the call for proposals to June 13, one additional proposal was submitted, from Hilo Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. During the extended period, the Heeia proponents were permitted to supplement their original proposal. From the two proposed sites, the Site Evaluation Committee determined that both Heeia Estuary and Hilo Bay should be on a “short list” for the Site Selection Committee to consider.

In Phase II, the Site Selection Committee (SSC) reviewed both site proposals and were given all available information to consider. The committee selected Heeia as the preferred site. The site selection document  was drafted and public meetings took place in order to collect comments on the proposed site. These comments were considered in the development of the site selection document, which was forwarded to the Governor in the first quarter of 2014. The Governor nominated the site to NOAA in May 2014. NOAA approved the nomination in October 2014.

  • Development of the Nomination Document: Public Meetings (2014)  After public notice, a first public meeting to take comments on the preferred site and its nomination was held in the vicinity of the preferred site on Thursday, January 9, 2014, at Governor Samuel Wilder King Intermediate School’s dining hall.  As requested by meeting attendees, unredacted comments from the first meeting and comments received by E-mail are available online for review at https://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/op/czm/initiative/nerrs/comments_received_as_of_2014-02-9.pdf.A second follow-up public meeting was held on February 27, 2014, also at Governor Samuel Wilder King Intermediate School’s dining hall at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm. Both public meetings were advertised in the local paper.  Any comments received by February 9, 2014, were addressed at the February 27 meeting and additional comments were taken. The final list of comments, collected until March 7, 2014, is available online for review at https://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/op/czm/initiative/nerrs/final_master_list_of_comments_4.10.14. All comments received by March 7, 2014 were collected and addressed in the site nomination document.Click here for the public meeting AGENDAPROCESS HANDOUTMAP HANDOUTRESPONSES TO COMMENTS, and list of site selection CRITERIA. These were also available at the second public meeting.

Phase III  involved delineating the boundary of the  site, working with partners to develop a management plan, and assisting NOAA as they developed a NEPA Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

  • Scoping Process for the NEPA Process and Development of the Management Plan (Dec. 2014-March 2015)  To begin the third phase of the site designation process, scoping meetings were held in Kaneohe and Honolulu on December 17 and 19, 2014.The presentation given at the scoping meetings can be found here:  Scoping Meeting Presentation  along with the Written Comment Form and Handout on Participating in the Focus Groups during the development of the Management Plan.  Scoping comments were gathered at the two public meetings as well as via written comment forms through January 30, 2015.  Thank you for taking the time to submit your comments on the proposed designation of the NERR at Heeia.  The complete Scoping Comment List is available for review here.
  • Focus Groups, which were open to all who are interested in these topics, met in March-April 2015. Topics covered included Research and Monitoring, Education and Training, and Resource Management and Public Outreach. Each of the groups met twice to brainstorm goals and objectives relevant to the group’s topic for the NERR.  These are reflected in the Strategic Plan (Section 3 of the Management Plan).
  • The Steering Committee, comprised of the site partner organizations involved in the proposed NERR site, also met to review input from the Focus Groups and give a management perspective.
  • Proposed Boundary A proposed boundary, refined by the State to follow tax map key (TMK) parcel boundaries, was discussed within the focus groups and the Steering Committee.
  • With this input, the Office of Planning developed the draft Management Plan and NOAA developed the draft EIS.  These documents were published on September 2, 2016 and were available here on the NOAA website.  A public meeting was held on October 6, 2016 at Heeia State Park, and the public comment period ran from September 2 through October 17, 2016.
  • The Final EIS and Final Management Plan were published in December 2016 and are available on the NOAA website.
  • The NOAA Administrator formally designated the Heeia NERR on January 19, 2017.