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Division of Biological Infrastructure

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 now available for public review and comment on the internet through June 22, 2017. As mandated under HRS Chapter 343, the Draft EA is anticipated to be 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).

All comments on the Draft EA must be in writing and will be accepted through June 22, 2017 (postmarked) by the following methods:


Mail: Ms. Montona Futrell-Griggs
RE: NEON Pu’u Maka’ala Natural Area Reserve
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 615N
Arlington, Virginia 22230

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.

Roland P. Roberts, (703) 292-7884
Room 615N

Steve Ellis, (703) 292-7876
Room 690N

Timothy Kratz, (703) 292-7346
Room 690N

Montona Futrell-Griggs, (703) 292-7162
Room 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

Directorate for Biological Sciences Centers Overview


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