PIBHMC is primarily supported by grants from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program. These grants are renewable annually and support benthic habitat mapping activities throughout the entire U.S. Pacific region.
In 2004, additional support was provided by a contract with the National Defense Center of Excellence for Research in Ocean Sciences (CEROS) to provide additional support for work in the Hawaiian archipelago.
PIBHMC works with organizations within NOAA to ensure that consistent, high quality data products are delivered in a timely manner. Although our primary mission is benthic habitat mapping and classification in the U.S. Pacific Islands region, data from our surveys are also being used to update nautical charts, to identify hazards to navigation, and for local engineering projects such as the identification of possible cable routes.
We work closely with a variety of partners both inside NOAA and with other federal, state and local agencies in the Pacific Islands Region. The strongest partnership is with the University of Hawai‘i’s Hawaii Mapping Research Group (HMRG). HMRG has more than 20 years of experience conducting sonar field operations and generating seafloor imagery products for scientific, government, and commercial users and has developed a suite of software tools and data processing techniques to process and analyze sonar data, and to create and disseminate useful data products. Rather than duplicate these efforts, PIBHMC has been organized to expand upon HMRG capabilities. We also work closely with the Pacific Island Region of the National Marine Sanctuaries Program which is responsible for the administration of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale and Fagatele Bay (American Samoa) National Marine Sanctuaries. Sanctuary personnel frequently assist in data collection and data product development. We also work with many other NOAA organizations to coordinate mapping efforts and actively participate in NOAA's Integrated Ocean Mapping working group, which is developing coordinated planning and mapping capabilities, and NOAA's Multibeam working group, which advises NOAA Marine and Aviations Operations on the requirements of the NOAA fleet's users.
Other federal partnerships include agencies responsible for managing marine resources in the U.S. Pacific Islands region or with which we share mapping tools and expertise. Several state and territorial agencies have participated in the mapping effort by providing pier space, escort boats and other logistic support; they also use our data products and advise us on product improvements.
Month-long cruise aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette with PIBHMC Posted by Linda Tatreau. Fish 250