A new USGS Open-File Report describes the coral reefs of Maui, Moloka‘i, Lānaʻi, and Kahoʻolawe in detail, including location, extent, coral cover, and connectivity.
The nine major coral reefs surrounding Maui and three nearby Hawaiian Islands (collectively Maui Nui) are critical to the local ecology, culture, and economy. Reef health has slowly declined over decades, and recent events such as the 2015 thermal bleaching have accelerated reef loss significantly, in some areas by an order of magnitude. A new USGS Open-File Report describes these coral reefs in detail, including location, extent, coral cover, and connectivity. The publication also describes threats to reef health, including overfishing, land-based pollution, and climate change. The report provides information that could inform Federal and State governments in their effort to establish a network of large-scale, connected Marine Protected Areas for effective management and protection of coral reefs in Hawai’i.