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Short Citation:
NMFS Office Of Protected Resources, 2024: Hawaiian Monk Seal (polygon),

Item Identification

Title: Hawaiian Monk Seal (polygon)
Publication Date: 2020-04-16

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI): Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat includes all beach areas, sand spits and islets, including all beach crest vegetation to its deepest extent inland, lagoon waters, inner reef waters, and habitat through the water's edge (mean lower low water line), including the seafloor and all subsurface waters and marine habitat within 10 meters of the seafloor, out to the 200 meter depth boundary in the following 10 areas: Kure Atoll, Midway Islands, Pearl and Hermes Reef, Lisianski Island, Laysan Island, Maro Reef, Gardner Pinnacles, French Frigate Shoals, Necker Island, and Nihoa Island.Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI): Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat areas surrounding Kauai, Oahu, Maui Nui (including Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, Molokai), and Hawaii are defined in the marine environment from the water's edge (mean lower low water line) seaward to a 200 meter depth boundary, including the seafloor and all subsurface waters and marine habitat within 10 meters of the seafloor. Niihau critical marine habitat includes the seafloor and all subsurface waters within 10 meters of the seafloor, from a 10 meter depth boundary seaward to a 200 meter depth boundary. Kaula Island critical marine habitat includes the seafloor and all subsurface waters within 10 meters of the seafloor, from a 3 nautical mile boundary seaward to a 200 meter depth boundary. Seven islets (near Oahu and Maui Nui) and numerous coastal locations (identified as lines in a separate dataset) around the MHIs have critical habitat designated from the water's edge into the terrestrial environment where the boundary extends inland 5 meters (in length) past the shoreline. The shoreline is described by the upper reaches of the wash of the waves, other than storm or seismic waves, at high tide during the season in which the highest wash of the waves occurs, usually evidenced by the edge of vegetation growth or the upper limit of debris. In locations where critical habitat does not extend inland to the terrestrial environment, the designation boundary is the mean lower low water line.Areas ineligible for designation as critical habitat and areas that were excluded from critical habitat were clipped out of this dataset. The final rule (August 21, 2015 80 FR 50926) describes ineligible and excluded areas. Critical habitat does not include the following particular areas where they overlap with the areas described above: all cliffs and manmade structures, such as docks, seawalls, piers, fishponds, roads, pipelines, boat ramps, platforms, buildings, ramparts and pilings existing within the legal boundaries on September 21, 2015.


These data represent the marine and terrestrial areas designated as critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal on August 21, 2015 (80 FR 50926). These polygons should be used in conjunction with a separate line dataset (coastal segments in the MHI); together the polygons and lines represent the entire final critical habitat designation.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: Map (digital)
Data Set Credit: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Regional Office: Kim Maison and Rob O'Conner, UH - SOEST, Department of the Navy, and NMFS CRED.

Support Roles

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 1082336
Date Effective From: 2020-04-16
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Molineaux, Jonathan
Address: 1315 East West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Email Address:
Phone: 301-427-8440

Point of Contact

CC ID: 1082335
Date Effective From: 2020-04-16
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Molineaux, Jonathan
Address: 1315 East West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Email Address:
Phone: 301-427-8440


Currentness Reference: Publication Date

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 1082338
W° Bound: -178.436969
E° Bound: -154.799
N° Bound: 28.549748
S° Bound: 18.853502

Spatial Information

Reference Systems

Reference System 1

CC ID: 1082332

Coordinate Reference System

CRS Type: Geographic 2D
EPSG Code: EPSG:4326
EPSG Name: WGS 84
See Full Coordinate Reference System Information

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Use Constraints:

These data do not officially represent the critical habitat designation. The official legal critical habitat designation can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (section 226.201).The appropriate uses for these data are for regulatory reasons, to determine where Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat has been designated. These data are not to be used for navigational purposes. NOAA makes no warranty regarding these data, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data, nor as a result of the failure of these data to function on a particular system.

Technical Environment


Version 6.2 (Build 9200) ; Esri ArcGIS


Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 1082329

The data were created to represent the 200m depth contour around any land areas in the MHI and NWHI which was determined to be the outer extent of the marine portion of the final revised CH designation for the Hawaiian monk seal (80 FR 50926). The 200m contour for the MHI was extracted from SOEST MHI Multibeam bathymetry synthesis ( The .kmz file with line contours was downloaded from The file was opened in GoogleEarth and saved as a .shp file for use in ArcMap 10.1. When opened in ArcMap 10.1, the 200m contour was selected and exported as a new shapefile using the export selected features function. Discrepancies and inaccuracies in the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) data were apparent for Midway and Kure Atolls so the 200m contour for those areas was extracted from SOEST Pacific Islands Benthic Habitat Mapping Center bathymetry data ( The SOEST data were also used to cross check the rest of the CRED data. The original shapefile was in polyline format with minor gaps in the depth contour. Gaps were filled in using nautical charts 19019, 19016, and 19022 and the corresponding SOEST bathymetry grids. The separate line files for NWHI and MHI were combined into one file using the Union tool in ArcToolbox 10.1. Areas that were 200m in depth but were not immediately surrounding a land mass were eliminated and the completed line file was converted to polygon using the "feature to polygon" tool in ArcToolbox 10.1. Areas that were determined to be ineligible for CH designation under ESA Section 4(a)(3) or excluded from CH designation under ESA section 4(b)(2) were removed from this shapefile using two other shapefiles representing those areas respectively using the Union tool, then the selection tool to select areas that remain as designated critical habitat for export to a new shapefile. Terrestrial components of Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat are depicted as separate polygons.

Process Date/Time: 2015-08-21 00:00:00

Process Step 2

CC ID: 1082330

Marine and terrestrial polygons were combined from multiple shapefiles into this feature class during the NMFS 2020 national critical habitat standardization project.

200 meter boundaries for MHI from Final_revised_HMSCH_Marine_2015_clean.shp

200 meter boundaries for NWHI from Final_HMSCH_Marine_2015.shp

Terrestrial areas for MHI and NWHI from Final_HMSCH_Terr_NWHI&MHI_Islets_2015.shp

All data were processed to represent the final rule accurately. Minor edits (e.g., Specific Area 6 Maro Reef only included marine habitat in the designation so the islet donut hole was removed, Specific Area 5 Laysan Island lakes were removed as separate features) were made to geometry in cases where the shapefile data did not represent the final CH designation. To support map service queries from this dataset, islets and marine polygons were combined and edited to have conicident boundaries. No overlapping polygons remain. Numerous tiny marine features were dissolved into larger single marine multipart features to consolidate attributes.

Process Date/Time: 2020-04-16 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity SealHawaiianMonk_20150821_poly

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 65319
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:65319
Metadata Record Created By: Jonathan Molineaux
Metadata Record Created: 2021-08-31 20:54+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-05-30 18:10+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2022-04-13
Owner Org: OPR
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2022-04-13
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2023-04-13