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National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)

Draft Environmental Assessment for the NEON Core Site in Pu'u Maka'ala NAR

May 9, 2017 (updated with material from Public Meeting)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces the availability of a draft environmental assessment (Draft EA) for the NSF’s proposed National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) field site at the Pu’u Maka’ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR), Hawai’i Island. NEON is an ecological observation facility funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operated by Battelle Memorial. It is designed to gather and synthesize data needed to study the impacts of environmental change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. The proposed field site at the Pu’u Maka’ala NAR would provide data for NEON’s Pacific Tropical domain (Domain 20), and would be the only site representing this domain for the network.

The Draft EA, which was informed through scoping and consultation with stakeholders and relevant agencies, evaluates the anticipated environmental impacts associated with construction and operation of the NEON field site as well as a No Action Alternative. It was prepared in compliance with both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Hawai’i Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 343. As the funding agency, NSF is the federal agency responsible for NEPA compliance; the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources is the approving agency responsible for compliance with HRS Chapter 343.

The Draft EA is available on the internet. As mandated under HRS Chapter 343, the Draft EA was published in the Hawai’i Office of Environmental Quality Control’s Environmental Notice on May 23, 2017. See

In addition, hard copies of the Draft EA will be available at the following public libraries: Hilo Public Library (300 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, HI 96720); Keaau Public and School Library (16-571 Keaau Pahoa Road, Keaau, HI 96749); Mountain View Public and School Library (18-1235 Volcano Highway, Mountain View, HI 96771); Edwin H. Mookini Library, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (200 W Kawili Street, Hilo, HI 96720); and Hawai‘i State Library (478 S King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813).


To access the Draft EA online, please use the link below:

Public Meeting

NSF held an informational public meeting on the Draft EA at the DOFAW Hilo Office at 19 E. Kawili Street, Hilo, HI 96720 on May 25, 2017, which included a summary of NSF’s assessment of effects to cultural resources, which was conducted per Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and HRS Chapter 6E-8.  The public meeting began at 5:30 pm and had an open house format with brief presentation at 6:30 pm. Written comments were accepted during the public meeting.




If you have any questions regarding the NEPA or Section 106 processes, contact Montona Futrell-Griggs at or (703) 292-7162.

For additional information about the NEON project, please contact any of the individuals below.

Name Email Phone Room
Roland  P. Roberts (703) 292-7884  615N  
Steve  Ellis (703) 292-7876  690N  
Timothy  Kratz (703) 292-7346  690N  
Montona  Futrell-Griggs (703) 292-7162  695N  


The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is an NSF-funded large facility project being constructed and operated by Battelle Memorial Institute. NEON comprises terrestrial, aquatic, atmospheric, and remote sensing measurement infrastructure and cyberinfrastructure that deliver standardized, calibrated data to the scientific community through a single, openly accessible data portal. NEON infrastructure is geographically-distributed across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and will generate data for ecological research over a 30 year period.

NEON is designed to enable the research community to ask and address their own questions on a regional to continental scale around the environmental challenges identified as relevant to understanding the effects of climate change, land-use change and invasive species patterns on the biosphere.

The NSF NEON program, which is part of the Centers and Cooperative Agreements Cluster in the Division of Biological Infrastructure, manages the NEON award in collaboration with the NSF Large Facilities Office and the NSF Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support.

To learn more about NEON and related funding opportunities, visit:


Additional Contact Information
Robert Paulos, Program Director, BIO OAD, 703-292-8400,


Related Web Sites

NEON Science Home Page -


MacroSystems Biology and Early NEON Science

Research Coordination Networks (RCN)

NSF Discoveries Article on NEON

TERN-NEON Partnership

Archival NEON Environmental Assessment Information

Archived Webcast of NEON Prospective PI Meeting

Press Release 11-157 NSF Awards Construction Funding to National Ecological Observatory Network