Sanctuary Nomination Process

Kauai Sanctuary Discovery Center Document Released

Click here to download the document. (4.7MB)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuary (ONMS) proudly announces the release of the planning document A Facility Strategy for the Kauai NOAA Sanctuary Discovery Center. The strategy was developed in collaboration with the Kauai community and details plans for the creation of a marine interpretive center for the island of Kauai.

The ONMS will hold a public workshop on Saturday September 10th 2011 at King Kaumualii Elementary School cafeteria in Hanamaulu (4381 Hanamaulu Road), 9 am to 3 pm to review the document. ONMS will then continue to work with the residents of Kauai to develop the next steps to move the discovery center project forward.

The island of Kauai is currently the northernmost boundary of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and is also the largest and most populated island nearest the nation’s newest World Heritage site, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM). The discovery center will feature interactive displays about the sites as well as a public meeting space, and possibly a wetlab and other resource areas.

The discovery center will be modeled on similar successful centers such as the PMNM Mokupapapa Discovery Center in Hilo, and the Kihei Learning Center in Maui. However, "the Kauai center will be uniquely Kauaian", says Allen Tom, Regional Director for the ONMS. "Public comments have been almost unanimous that the island of Kauai has a special environmental story to share with the rest of the world, and that is what needs to be the focus of this Center", he continued.

ONMS is considering a number of options for Kauai, including co-locating or rehabilitating an existing building rather than constructing a new center from scratch. Given today’s economic climate it may be more cost effective to partner with an existing facility or to rehabilitate an existing location—as ONMS has done at the Old Courthouse in Lahaina, Maui.

While no one location has yet been identified as a place for the new center, several locations around the island are suggested. "The document lays out the various requirements for the Center, and suggests what it should contain. I am grateful to the people of Kauai for sharing their ideas for the Center. ONMS could have simply built a visitor center—but what good would that have done if none of the island residents found the center useful?" commented Tom.

The document, written by Facility Programming and Consulting, contains more than 2,000 hours of input from community leaders, residents, user groups and visitors. Native Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner Ms. Puanani Burgess facilitated the community meetings and had this to add: "It was gratifying to see the support from our Kauai community, and their enthusiasm for this exciting project. I look forward to continuing with the planning process, and all the way through to the blessing of the new Kauai Discovery Center!"

Comments from public workshops held in Lihue, Kauai on November 2010 and February 2011 are included in the document. Additional comments were mailed or e-mailed into the sanctuary office and compiled with the others. In addition, ONMS will continue to collect comments as the project moves forward.

Hard copies of the report are available to read in all the public libraries on Kauai, Kauai Community College library, Kauai ONMS office (4370 Kukui Grove Street, Lihue, 808-246-2860) and can be downloaded here: (pdf, 4.7MB).

Additionally, if you would a hard copy or CD Rom of the document send a request by email to,

Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

ONMS Pacific Islands Region

Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Old Lahaina Courthouse project

Kihei Learning Center

leaving site indicates a link leaves the site. Please view our Link Disclaimer for more information.
Revised September 12, 2023 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Privacy Policy | For Employees | User Survey