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Welcome to HCRS online

The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of
Aquatic Resources (DAR) is the primary agency responsible for coordinating Hawaii’s reef management efforts in the main Hawaiian Islands. The Coral Reef Working Group (CRWG), made up of key state and federal partners involved in coral reef management, was established to help provide guidance for the State of Hawaii’s coral program.

About the Hawaii Coral Reef Strategy

The 2010 Hawaii Coral Reef Strategy (HCRS) is the guiding coral reef management document used by the Division of Aquatic Resources’ with support from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. The HCRS was developed through a participatory process including DAR staff as well as other agency representatives, academics and NGO partners and regional experts. Prior to the completion of the HCRS, management efforts were informed by threat-focused Local Action Strategies (LAS's).  While the HRCS prioritizes place-based stewardship efforts, it includes and incorporates actions and needs identfied by the LAS's.


Goals of the Hawaii Coral Reef Strategy 

  • Coral reefs undamanaged by pollution, invasive species, marine construction and marine debris.
  • Productive and sustainable coral reef fisheries and habitat
  • Coral reef ecosystems recilient to climate change, invasive species and marine debris. 
  • Increased public stewardship of coral reef ecysystems.


Priority objectives for 2010-2020

  1. Reduce key anthropogenic threats to two priority near-shore coral reef sites by 2015 and five by 2020 using ahupua’a based management.
  2. Prevent new AIS introductions and minimize the spread of established AIS populations by 2020.
  3. Increase the abundance and average size of five targeted coral reef fisheries species critical to reef health and ecological function by 2020.
  4. Designate a sufficient area of marine waters under effective conservation by 2020 to ensure sustainable and resilient coral reef ecosystems.
  5. Reduce anchor damage and trampling on coral reefs through the implementation of no anchor zones, utilization of day use mooring buoys and other means by 2020.


Priority Sites (addresses Objective #1)

It was recognized early in the HCRS planning process that many of the management activities identified needed to be implemented at a site specific level to effectively show success. Two sites, Ka‘anapali-Kahekili (Maui) and South Kohala (Hawaii) were prioritized for 3-5 year program focus in order to implement specific ridge-to-reef management activities (See HCRS for full description of process used to determine priority sites).


Local Action Strategy (LAS) (addresses Objectives #2-5)

DAR facilitated the development and implementation of 6 local action strategies (LAS’s) with significant help from multi-stakeholder, voluntary advisory groups and funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. More information about coral reef monitoring and management, LAS projects and advisory groups, as well as additional project descriptions and reports can be found online at:


Coral Reef Monitoring (addresses Objectives #3)

Effective management of coral reef ecosystems is dependent upon reliable and in-depth data on the status and trends of key ecosystem components. This is increasingly critical as threats to coral reefs increase due to population increases, urbanization, pollution and climate change. Previous DAR coral reef monitoring programs in the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) have been largely fragmentary and uncoordinated, with little or no overlap among programs in terms of survey locations or habitat. The resulting data therefore provided only limited opportunity to make meaningful comparisons among sites, or to explore potentially important interactions among biological and physical ecosystem components, such as those between herbivores and algal communities (Williams and Polunin 2001), or between reef structural characteristics and fish communities (Friedlander et al. 2007).

The management of Hawai`i’s coral reefs is fundamentally the responsibility of the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) within the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). The primary objective of this proposal is to implement an integrated ecosystem-scale monitoring approach for DAR for use within the MHI. Monitoring will encompass fish communities, mobile invertebrates, reef benthos (including coral and algal communities as well as other sessile invertebrates), water temperature and turbidity and water quality (both incident based).


NOAA Coral Fellow

The NOAA Coral Reef Management Fellowship Program was established to respond to the need for additional coral reef management capacity in the U.S. Flag Pacific and Caribbean islands. The program provides the state and territorial coral reef management agencies with highly qualified candidates whose education and work experience meet each island's specific needs, while providing the individual fellows with professional experience in coastal and coral reef resources management. As a participating member of the DAR staff and the coral program, the fellow will work with a team of coordinators and network with partner organizations and agencies to complete a multifaceted fellowship.

NOAA Coral Fellow Program Site 


Division of Aquatic Resources Legal Fellow

The primary goal of the Marine Law Fellow program is to assess, evaluate, and coordinate revisions to existing DAR regulations in consultation with relevant DAR biologists, Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) personnel, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), and the Office of the Attorney General (AG), for the purpose of facilitating increased coral reef and aquatic resources conservation. The Law Fellow has also worked on proposals for new statutes, regulations, and procedures that serve this same purpose. The secondary goal of the Law Fellow is to administratively prosecute DAR resource damage cases before the Board of Land and Natural Resources for the purpose of assessing fines and recovering fees and costs. This fellowship has been ongoing since 2007. 



Emma Anders, DAR Planner
Department of Land and Natural Resources,
Division of Aquatic Resources 1151 Punchbowl Street,
Room 330 Honolulu, HI 96813
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(808) 721-6496