He‘eia National Estuarine Research Reserve

He‘eia National Estuarine Research Reserve

Reserve Information



Lead Agency

University of Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology
(Visit Site)


1,385 acres


Southern portion of Kāne‘ohe Bay, the largest sheltered body of water in the Hawaiian Island chain, on the windward shore of the island of O‘ahu

Additional Information

Habitats found in this reserve support important endemic species, including the federally endangered Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian moorhen, Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian duck, and Hawaiian hoary bat.

Biogeographic Region

Insular - Hawaiian Islands

About This Reserve

This 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. The cultural sites include traditional agricultural and heritage lands and the He‘eia Fishpond. Marine waters make up the largest component of the reserve and feature Moku o Lo‘e (Coconut Island), home to the University of Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology. Coconut Island is surrounded by the Hawai‘i Marine Laboratory Refuge, which includes the most pristine coral reefs in the site.

The He‘eia Reserve is one of 30 areas in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and is protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education, and coastal stewardship. The University of Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, in conjunction with other local partners, manages the site on a daily basis. NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management provides funding, national guidance, and technical assistance.

Reserve Location and Boundaries