On the Island of Oahu, at the southern portion of Kāne‘ohe Bay, sits the nation’s newest estuary reserve.
He’eia National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 29 areas in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education, and coastal stewardship.
Created when the fresh water of rivers meets the salty water of the sea, estuaries act like giant sponges protecting upland areas from ocean waves and storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with coastal states and territories works to preserve these unique natural areas.
This 1,385 acre Oahu reserve includes unique and diverse upland, estuarine, and marine habitats within the He‘eia estuary and a portion of Kāne‘ohe Bay, protecting features such as the He‘eia stream, coral reefs, sand flats, and important cultural components.
NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration has worked in Kāne‘ohe Bay and other Oahu locations to minimize the impacts of oil spills and hazardous waste sites on these important habitats. You can read more about some of our work in Oahu in the following articles:
- To Save Corals in an Oahu Bay, First Vacuum up Invasive Algae, Then Apply Sea Urchins
- Watch Divers Restore Coral Reefs Hit by a Huge Ship in Hawaii
- Emergency Restoration Is in a Basketful of Coral
- Pacific Islands ERMA