Hawaii Ocean Resources Management Plan

The Hawaii Ocean Resources Management Plan (ORMP) is a statewide plan that presents the State’s ocean and coastal resource management priorities, and provides guidance to state agencies with responsibilities relating to marine and coastal zone management. The ORMP was updated in July of 2013, and again in 2020, and was developed under the Hawaii State Office of Planning Coastal Zone Management Program with the participation of county, state and federal agencies responsible for ocean and coastal resources, along with input from the community. The 2013 plan identifies inter-related state agency responsibilities, such as appropriate coastal development, watershed management, marine debris, and coral reef protection. Climate change and its direct impacts such as sea-level rise, coastal erosion, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching are discussed in detail throughout, along with adaptive management strategies, goals and metrics.


2013 ORMP

The 2013 ORMP establishes eleven Management Priorities. It further identifies the respective goals and implementation measures for the Priorities, including the responsible agencies and resources, and methods for performance measures and reporting. The 2013 update was the first time that performance measures were a part of the plan.

Management Priority #2, “Management of Coastal Hazards,” defines three critical goals for the state related to climate impacts, sea level rise, and adaptation:

Goal A: Support adoption of county laws for Best Management Practices to reduce risks from coastal hazards, including the impacts from climate change.

Goal B: Complete coastal mapping of the Main Hawaiian Islands to assist with management of coastal hazards such as coastal erosion and sea-level rise.

Goal C: Collaborate and support county and state efforts to develop climate change risk analysis and adaptation strategies for public facilities.

Indicator Measures or metrics for achieving each goal in the management of coastal hazards were also developed:

Goal A:

  • Develop guidance on how to integrate climate change policy into County Development Plans/Sustainable Community Plans and regulatory permits (OP-CZM)
  • Increase in number of state departments completing coastal hazards risk analysis for their facilities (OP-CZM)
  • Increase in number of county general and community/development plans that include a climate change adaptation component (County planning departments)
  • Creation of greenhouse gas emissions rules (DOH)

Goal B:

  • Shoreline erosion studies and maps completed for Hawaii Island, Lanai, and Molokai (UH-SOEST)
  • Review and update shoreline erosion maps for Kauai, Maui, and Oahu (UH-SOEST)

Goal C:

  • Increase in number of climate change adaptation training sessions held (OP-CZM)
  • Increase in number of state departments adopting climate change adaptation strategies in their maintenance plans and capital improvement program plans (OP-CZM)

Management Priority #11 on National Ocean Policy and Pacific Regional Ocean Initiatives includes climate-related goals also. Hawaii intends to contribute to the Pacific Regional Priorities for the Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership, which include, but are not limited to, climate change adaptation and the support of Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning.


2020 ORMP

The 2020 update of the ORMP builds on the 2013 version and presents policies that improve state management of ocean resources and address management gaps within the state. The 2020 ORMP is guided by four principles: (1) connecting the land and sea; (2) preserving Hawaii's ocean heritage; (3) promoting partnership and environmental conservation; and (4) adapting to climate-related impacts, such as coral bleaching, degradation of natural coastal infrastructure, and record high temperatures.

While several of the Management Priorities identified in the 2013 ORMP remain salient in maintaining and enhancing Hawaii's environmental health, the 2020 ORMP moves away from metrics to track the implementation of Management Priorities. The plan states that the high number of metrics identified in the 2013 plan were difficult to track and minimally effective at demonstrating progress. The 2013 Management Priorities and metrics will be maintained and tracked, but the 2020 ORMP instead identifies and emphasizes specific Focus Areas within the 2013 Management Priorities that require specific attention. The Focus Areas for the 2020 ORMP are (1) development and coastal hazards; (2) land-based pollution; and (3) marine ecosystems. For each Focus Area, the 2020 Plan provides goals, proposes components that may assist in reaching the identified goals, and points out entities that the state can collaborate with to reach the goals. The 2020 ORMP also examines of the future of the state's coastal resources, including by assessing the anthropogenic and climate-related impacts facing Hawaii's natural resources, and how those impacts will affect the identified Focus Areas. Additionally, the 2020 ORMP notably aims to elevate the role and use of traditional ecological knowledge native to Hawaiian culture in planning processes and governance structures. 


The ORMP is required under Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) §205A-62(1) and is a major component of Hawaii's Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program. The purpose of the ORMP (according to HRS Section 205A-62(1)) is to provide a framework and implementation strategy for state agencies and others working with state agencies. 

Publication Date: July 2013

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Resource Types:

  • Agency guidance/policy

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