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POH-2012-00199

Posted: 11/19/2013

Expiration date: 12/20/2013


Interested parties are hereby notified that an application has been received for a Department of the Army (DA) permit for certain work in waters of the United States as described below and shown on the attached drawings.

APPLICANT: Mr. William J. Aila, State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DNLR), 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 221, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

AGENT: Ms. Julie M. Zimmerman, AECOM, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 1600, Honolulu, Hawaii  96701

LOCATION: Breach channel at Hanalei River, Kauai Isle, Hawaii.  TMKs: 454002034, 454002026, 454001007, and 453001016.  Coordinates:  22.186111 °N, 159.463889 °W.

PURPOSE: Riverbank restoration and aquatic habitat restoration/enhancement

AUTHORITY: This permit application will be reviewed under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344).  The Corps’ public interest review will consider the guidelines set forth under Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act (40 CFR Part 230).

PROPOSED ACTIVITY:  The DLNR proposes to discharge dredged and fill material into waters of the U.S. to reconstruct the breach in the Hanalei River bank.  Work activities would also involve removal (dredging and excavation) of an accumulated bank of sediments downstream of the breach channel to restore and enhance aquatic habitat at and downstream of the project site.  The removed sediment would be reserved for use to reconstruct the breached riverbank to divert flow back to the river and eliminate further erosion of the breach channel.  Project plans and other information are included in the attached appendices.

The overall proposed project encompasses an estimated 82,136 square feet (sq. ft) (1.89 acres) of waters of the U.S., within a 870 linear ft reach of the Hanalei River.  An estimated 1,076 cubic yards (cy) of dredged/fill material is required to reconstruct the breached riverbank and install a rock vane and spurs that would result in a permanent discharge of fill in 13,939 sq. ft (0.32 acres) of waters of the U.S.  Temporary discharges of fill material include Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as a rock cofferdam  and compost-filled filter socks.

The applicant proposes to repair the riverbank breach to restore flow back to river and downstream areas, and prevent further bank erosion within the breach channel and east river bank.  Reconstruction of the breached riverbank would consist of a permanent earthen berm 154 ft long across the breach that  extends 177 ft downstream into the breach channel. Sheetpiling and vertical drains would also used to construct the berm, and native plant ground cover species used to restore graded/constructed berm slopes.

The riverside slope of the berm would consist of a 3 ft-thick, rip-rap boulder base. Additional fill material would be layered upon the boulder base to match elevations on either side of the breach.  Only a portion of the breach channel necessary to reinforce the riverbank would be backfilled instead of the entire breach channel.  A 1 ft thick, 9 ft wide by 45 ft long rip-rap boulder apron would be constructed where the vertical drain exits the berm  to prevent erosion of the toe from flow draining from the riverbank.

The applicant also proposes to install one (1) 33 ft long rock vane and three (3) tapering 20 ft long bank spurs to stabilize river flow at this location by redirecting flow and velocity away from the banks to enhance flow within the project area and downstream of the breach, and reduce the tendency for scour along the restored riverbank.  This work would result in a permanent discharge of 36 cy of fill within 0.04 acres of the river.

The fill material used would be sourced from two (2) locations: 1) an on-site dredged material and 2) an off-site aggregate quarry.  A total of 1,040 cy of dredged/fill material would be permanently discharged below the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) filling 12,382 sq ft (0.28 acres) of waters of the U.S.

Project plans (Appendix A) and Construction Best Management Practices Plan (CBMPP) and Restoration Plan (Appendix B) are included with this notice.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The proposed project is needed to restore river flow and sediment transport to pre-breach conditions, and enhance aquatic habitat supported by the Hanalei River.  Past discrete event(s) and subsequent years of gradual erosion has resulted in a breach in the Hanalei River bank that diverts a portion of the river’s flow from its ordinary path within the river’s banks and into the breach channel. The diversion has altered river conditions (i.e., reduced sediment transport capacity) in the immediate downstream vicinity, which has resulted in accumulation of sediment along the west bank and consequently increased erosion of the east bank.  The diversion has also impacted aquatic and agricultural resources farther downstream by causing major interruptions in the amount of irrigation water available to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge (HNWR) to protect threatened and endangered waterbirds and local farmers for taro cultivation, respectively.

Based on information provided by the applicant, the formation of the Hanalei River breach and channel is attributed to a large flood event that occurred in November 1995.  Despite several failed attempts to repair the breach, including restoration activities verified by the Corps (File No. POH-2009-00336; 2007 Nationwide Permit #45, Repair of Uplands Damaged by Discrete Events, dated November 20, 2009) that followed a discrete storm event in 2009, a portion of the river’s flow remains diverted to breach channel.  The diverted flow continues to threaten adjacent properties and contributes to sediment loading to downstream areas, including Hanalei Bay.

All fill material would be acquired from on-site sources by removal of an accumulated sediment bank located just downstream of the breach.  The applicant proposes to remove approximately 648 cy of sediment material, which consists of large to small river rocks, course gravely sand, and clayey soil from a 14,845 sq ft (0.34 acres) sized area along the west bank.  BMPs would be installed prior to dredging/excavation activities to contain suspended solids and minimize their transport downstream.  All removed sediment fill material would be temporarily stockpiled above of the OHWM until ready for use for the riverbank reconstruction.  The main purpose of the sediment bank removal is to allow the river to retain its normal sediment transport capability, improve flow, which would reduce erosion of the river’s east bank; the sediment bank would also provide the needed fill material for the riverbank construction.

Boulders for these structures would be embedded into the river’s bank and graded bottom and extend towards the channel’s center at varying lengths approximately 1/3 to 1/4 the width of the channel.  A small 1 to 2 ft deep scour pool would also be excavated downstream of each vane/spur to create shallow habitat for aquatic species.

MITIGATION:  The applicant’s need to restore the damaged riverbank and restore river flow to enhance aquatic habitat and agriculture within the Hanalei River does not allow for complete avoidance of impacts to waters of the U.S., or consideration of alternative site locations.  To minimize impacts to waters of the U.S., the applicant has designed the replacement bank to include the minimal amount of fill necessary to achieve the project purpose without concrete or cementitious materials needed to artificially line or grout structures.  Construction work is also scheduled to take place during the summer while river flows are typically at its lowest.  Mitigation measures described in the applicant’s Project Plan, Construction and Best Management Practices Plan (CBMPP), and Restoration Plan (RP) would be implemented to ensure impacts to aquatic resources are minimized.  A few described measures include restrictions on stockpiling of construction materials in waters, refueling vehicles and equipment away from water, daily inspections to ensure silt fences are functioning, and trash and other project-generated wastes are properly managed and disposed of.  The applicant has also delineated special aquatic sites to avoid impacts to wetlands and enhance riffle-pool complexes affected by the project.

Based on the aforementioned, the applicant proposes no additional mitigation as the proposed project involves replacement of a previously existing fill at the breach site and would reduce erosion and enhance the aquatic environment both on-site and in downstream areas for the refuge’s protected waterbirds and taro growers.

WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: The proposed action would result in a discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. and would require authorization from the Corps under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1344) (CWA).  Under Section 401 of the CWA, the Corps may not issue a permit for the described work until the applicant obtains a certification, or a waiver of certification, from the State of Hawaii, Department of Health, Clean Water Branch. 
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT CERTIFICATION: The proposed action will affect land or water uses in the Coastal Zone.  Under Section 307(c)(3) of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1456(c)(3)) (CZMA), the Corps may not issue a permit for the described work until the applicant obtains a CZM Consistency Concurrence from the State of Hawaii, Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, Office of Planning, CZM Program.

CULTURAL RESOURCES: The latest published versions of the National and State Registers of Historic Places (NRHP and SRHP, respectively) have been consulted for the presence or absence of historic properties, including those listed in or eligible for inclusion in the NRHP.  There are no listed or eligible properties identified within the vicinity of the worksite. Consultation of the NRHP constitutes the extent of cultural resource investigations by the District Engineer at this time, and he is otherwise unaware of the presence of such resources. This application is being coordinated with the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD).  Any comments SHPD may have concerning presently unknown archeological or historic data that may be lost or destroyed by work under the requested permit would be considered in our final assessment of the described work.

ENDANGERED SPECIES:  Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S. C. 1531 et seq.) (ESA) requires federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and/or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on any action that may affect a species listed (or proposed for listing) under the ESA as threatened or endangered or any designated critical habitat.  We have preliminarily determined the proposed project would not affect ESA-listed marine species such as sea turtles, whales, and seals (i.e., Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi).  We have also preliminarily determined the proposed project may affect, but not likely to adversely affect ESA-listed species, which include the Hawaiian duck (Anas Wyvilliana), Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai), Hawaiian moorhen (Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis), and Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), Hawaiian goose (Branta sandvicensis), Dark-rumped petrel (Pterodroma phaeopygia sandwicensis), Newell’s shearwater (Puffinus newelli), and Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus).  Concurrently with the issuance of this public notice, the USACE will provide consultation letters to the NMFS and/or USFWS, as required, with the USACE’s effects determination for the proposed project.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed work is being evaluated for possible effects to Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) pursuant to Section 305(b) the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996 (16 U.S.C. 1855(b)) (MSFCMA) and associated federal regulations found at 50 CFR Part 600 Subpart K.  The Honolulu District area of responsibility includes areas of EFH as Fishery Management Plans.  We have reviewed the January 20, 1999, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Environmental Assessment to locate EFH areas as identified by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  We have preliminarily determined that the proposed project would not adversely affect designated EFH, which is located downstream the project location at Hanalei Bay.

EVALUATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts, of the proposed activity on the public interest.  That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered, including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, floodplain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership, and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this activity.  Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for the work.  To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above.  Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the activity.

PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application.  Requests for public hearings must state clearly and concisely, the reasons and rationale for holding a public hearing.

COMMENT AND REVIEW PERIOD: Conventional mail or e-mail comments on this public notice will be accepted and made part of the record and will be considered in determining whether it would be in the public interest to authorize this proposed work.  In order to be accepted, e-mail comments must originate from the author’s e-mail account and must include on the subject line of the e-mail message the permit applicant’s name and the Corps file number POH-2012-00199.

All e-mail comments should be sent to:

joy.n.anamizu@usace.army.mil

Conventional mail comments should be sent to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Honolulu District, Regulatory Branch
Building 230, (Attn: CEPOH-EC-R / J. Anamizu)
Ft. Shafter, Hawaii  96858-5440

Both conventional mail or e-mail comments must reach this office no later than the expiration date of this public notice to become part of the record and be considered in the decision. Please contact Ms. Joy Anamizu at (808) 835-4308 if further information is desired concerning this notice.  This public notice is issued by the Chief, Regulatory Branch.