HWMO is getting involved in an exciting new collaborative interactive mapping project. Elizabeth, Orlando, and Pablo represented HWMO in a meeting at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Waimea with members from NRCS, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), University of Hawaii Sea Grant, and Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. The eleven attendees began strategizing and providing input on a project that would sync data from a number of different agencies, groups, and organizations that work towards conserving the South Kohala region of the Big Island. NOAA would host an interactive map of South Kohala that would provide information on current projects, past research, management plans, site specifics, and other useful data that would be accessible to the public as a free information tool. The map would also increase the capacity for groups or individuals to share knowledge, increase collaborations, and fill in information and management gaps in the region.
NOAA spearheaded the project as part of a combined Sentinel Site and Habitat Blueprint program in an effort to target specific regions across the U.S. showing that relevant advances in science can impact management and thus affect actual change. In Hawaii, these programs are being implemented in Midway and French Frigate Shoals in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Heʻeia Wetland Restoration project on Oʻahu, and South Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. NOAA's objectives for the program include focusing on coral reef health, reducing sedimentation, and mauka to makai connectivity; climate change; and community capacity (i.e. outreach, education, and training). HWMO is in full support of the mapping project as we find it will be an incredibly useful tool for the organization and for the managers and community members we represent.
Banner photo: NOAA interns present data that has been collected so far for the interactive map.