Natural resource managers and Navy engineers team-up to manage habitat alteration
The United States Navy has a strategic, historic—even legendary—presence in Hawaii. While that presence looms large for residents and visitors alike, the Navy wants to leave as small an impact as possible on the waterways in which it operates. To maintain compliance with regulations to protect the environment, including the Endangered Species Act, during a dredging project to improve ship’s access to the Pearl Harbor channel—including the Navy’s largest vessels—we worked with the Navy to conduct an environmental assessment of potential impacts of the project on marine resources.
Our studies would allow natural resource managers and Navy engineers to manage habitat alteration as a result of maintenance dredging within Pearl Harbor’s main channel and turning basin. During Phase I of the project, we compiled a baseline biological and abiotic geo-database, mapped sea floor geologic contours, and modeled dredge sediment plumes.
Our Phase II scope focuses on filling high priority data gaps and integrating our information into the Navy’s own study’s geo-database on the region’s sea floor ecosystem, including a quantitative evaluation of the ecosystem using photomosaic and remote sensing methods. In addition, our team has developed an integrated web application to share mapped data developed for this project. Our mapping work has already led to the discovery of a new cultural resource—a previously unidentified wreckage in deep water near Hickam Warf and the crater field.
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