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Pacific Islands CASC

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The Pacific Ocean is home to a number of low-lying, coastal national parks and wildlife refuges. These public lands are situated on coral reef-lined islands that are susceptible to inundation from sea-level rise and flooding during storms. Because of their low-lying nature and limited availability of space, ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure on these islands are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Sea-level rise will further exacerbate the impact of storms on island parks and refuges by increasing wave-driven coastal flooding, with consequences for ecological and human communities alike. However, most assessments of future conditions at coastal national parks and refuges consider only permanent...
A cocktail of land-based sources of pollution threatens coral reef ecosystems, and addressing these has become a key management and policy challenge in the State of Hawaii, other US territories, and globally. In West Maui, Hawai'i, nearly one quarter of all living corals were lost between 1995 and 2008. Onsite disposal systems (OSDS) for sewage leak contaminants into drinking water sources and nearshore waters. In recognition of this risk, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is prioritizing areas for cesspool upgrades. Independently, we applied a decision analysis process to identify priority areas to address sewage pollution from OSDS in West Maui, with the objective of reducing nearshore coral reef exposure...
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As a low-lying coastal nation, the Republic of the Marshall Islands is at the forefront of exposure to climate change impacts. The Republic of the Marshall Islands has a strong dependence on natural resources and biodiversity not only for food and income but also for culture and livelihood. However, these resources are threatened by rising sea levels and associated coastal hazards (storm surges, saltwater intrusion, erosion, etc.). High-quality data for atoll ‘ridge to reef’ (land and ocean) areas are needed to provide remote communities with the tools and strategies to make adaptation efforts before disasters occur. Although the Republic of the Marshall Islands’ National Strategic Plans recognize the need to...
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Landscape-scale conservation of threatened and endangered species is often challenged by multiple, sometimes conflicting, land uses. In Hawaiʻi, efforts to conserve native forests have come into conflict with objectives to sustain non-native game mammals, such as feral pigs, goats, and deer, for subsistence and sport hunting. Maintaining stable or increasing game populations represents one of the greatest obstacles to the recovery of Hawaii’s 425 threatened and endangered plant species. Many endemic Hawaiian species have declined and become endangered as a result of herbivorous non-native game mammals. Meanwhile, other environmental changes, including the spread of invasive grasses and changing precipitation patterns...
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Loko iʻa (Hawaiian fishponds) are an advanced, extensive form of aquaculture found nowhere else in the world. Loko iʻa practices are the result of over a thousand years of intergenerational knowledge, experimentation, and adaptation, and once produced over 2 million pounds of fish per year throughout the Hawaiian Islands. These fishponds provided a consistent and diverse supply of fish when ocean fishing was not possible or did not yield enough supply. In many ways, loko iʻa are foundational to traditional aquaculture in Hawai‘i and have the potential to provide food security that contributes to greater coastal community resilience and economic autonomy. Today, changes in coastal and hydrological processes, including...
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