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Assessing coral reef resilience along the South Kohala Coast of Hawaii


Description:

Project Manager:
Lani Watson
Project Years:
2015
2016
2017
Project Summary:
CRCP, West Hawaii Habitat Focus Area, Sentinel Site Program, and Resilient Lands and Water’s Initiative have an overlapping Focus Area on the northwest side of the Island of Hawaii that includes the South Kohala coastline. The West Hawaii Habitat Focus Area objectives, which have been developed based upon existing efforts and needs, are: 1) Improved coral reef health through the reduction of land-based pollutants, 2) Reduced vulnerability of marine resources and communities to localized effects of climate change, 3) Communities are informed and contribute to the sustainable use and restoration of natural resources, 4) Better management decisions are made as a result of better tools and information being available.Many reefs have not been surveyed in the area, and many surveys were not designed to be comparative between sites. Further, there is a wealth of direct and remotely sensed data that has not been incorporated into broader scale meta-analyses to assess the interplay of various stressors and biological indicators of integrity and health. The FY15 study will assess the resilience potential of 40 sites by examining the relative influence of anthropogenic stress and the ecological integrity of these sites. This will allow resilience based strategies to be developed to improve resilience at low resilience sites and maintain resilience at high resilience sites. This proposal is intended to accomplish goals that were proposed in the FY15 proposal, which had to be scaled back due to the available funds for the award. The main objective is to socialize and disseminate the results of this work in a strategic way to key stakeholders. It is the effective and strategic communication and capacity building with managers, communities and other stakeholders that are critical for implementing resilience based strategies. This proposal is essentially a request for year 2 funding.Leveraging from the CRCP FY15 funded assessment, we propose 6 project activities: 1) a 2 day on-site managers workshop to assist with the implementation of developed recommendations, 2) a 1 day science workshop in Oahu to share the project methods and outreach strategies with others in Hawaii that want to undertake resilience assessments, 3) a community meeting in Kona to share and discuss the project results,  4) the development of an abbreviated ‘Summary for Policymakers’ describing the final management recommendations and pathways for implementation, 5) a webinar explaining the results to a global community, and 6) a CRCP published technical report describing our approach to disseminating resilience assessment results. The FY17 project builds on the activities done in FY15 and FY16. The main objectives of this project are to: 1)Evaluate ecosystem impacts from the 2015 coral bleaching event two years after the event, 2) evaluate and fine tune the 2015 resilience assessment predictions and 3) build on efforts from FY16 funding to facilitate the incorporation of the results into the state of Hawaii management planning process. Together, these individual components provide a comprehensive strategy to enable managers, scientists, community members and stakeholders to use the results from the assessment. Learning from previous coral resilience studies, such as in CNMI, we recognize that the more outreach and communication products that are done, the more confident we can be that the information will be used and ultimately change management decisions and improve coral reef resilience.The partners and advisors for this project include members from NOAA, Hawaii DLNR, TNC and the Marine Applied Research Center. The collaboration from the conception to design to implementation will make this a successful project.
Expected Outcome:
CRCP FY15 project:Data collection and analysis of 40 sites in West Hawaii and assessment of 13 resilience indicators A final report with scientific approach, data analysis, all mapping and statistical outputs and graphics.CRCP FY16 project:Identifying options for targeted management actions (land and water) that will support resilience processes at less resilient reefs as well as longer-term strategies to maintain the health of more resilient reefs. New data and baselines from which the effects of management actions can be assessed, enabling comparisons between reefs in the Focus Area and other areas in Hawaii. Increased understanding of spatial variation in resilience of local reefs and the range of potential action options as well as pathways for implementing the actions. Development of recommendations for Hawaii of how to undertake a resilience assessment and the costs and benefits of local versus whole-of-island and whole-of-archipelago scale assessments (i.e. comparison of CRCP funded resilience work in Hawaii based on Pacific RAMP surveys, Vargas-Angel).Development of outreach and education products and templates for these products that will facilitate sharing project results with the public, which is likely to increase support for management plans and strengthen relationships with stakeholder groups. Increased understanding among reef managers outside Hawaii of how communications and outreach approaches were used in this project to disseminate and discuss resilience assessment results. CRCP FY17 proposal:Summary report of two years of ecosystem change from the 2015 coral bleaching eventWorkshop and meetings to facilitate the state management process and the incorporation of information resulting from resilience assessments and monitoring and resilience key concepts.Additional outcomes for West Hawai’i:1. The results and recommended actions can inform other projects within the Focus Area, for example, cesspool removal in Puako and watershed restoration in Pelekane. The collaborative nature of this project will contribute to an even greater level of coordination across West Hawaii.2. NOAA has offered the results of this project to fulfill the requirements of the President’s Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative, including a map that highlights actions for increased resilience.3. This project is proposed as part of a coral reef resilience session at the 2016 International Coral Reef Symposium. Having lessons learned from the workshop with managers and meetings with community members and scientists will tell a compelling story and provide an example of coral resilience approaches to a global community of coral reef experts and managers.
Project Locations:
  • Hawaii
Jursdiction Priority Sites:
  • Pelekane Bay-Puako-Anaeho‘omalu Bay (Hawai‘i)
Project Category:
Climate Change
Project Type:
Closed
Project Status:
Completed
Associated Products:

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