Pohoiki Harbor is located on the east side of the island of Hawai’i about 30 miles from Hilo and contains a one-lane boat ramp which serves the district of Puna. The project was authorized under Section 107 of the River and Harbor Act of 1960, as amended. The non-Federal sponsor is the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawai’i (DOBOR). The project is in the operations and maintenance phase.
The Pohoiki Bay Navigation Improvements project was completed in 1979 at a Federal cost of $432,523 and consists of a 90-foot long breakwater. In 2018, lava flow from the Kīlauea Volcano severely impacted the project site. Landside access to the project was cut off by lava flow in May 2018 and by August 2018, waterside access into the harbor was cut off by black sand, generated from the lava that had reached the ocean. The breakwater structure, although covered by black sand, remains intact. In late 2018, the County of Hawai’i cut through the lava and restored the road and parkside access. However, the harbor opening remains blocked by sand and is not useable. DOBOR is working to develop a solution to restore the harbor.
In early 1999, DOBOR requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assistance with maintenance dredging of approximately 300 cubic yards of cinder material in the vicinity of the head of the breakwater and near the boat ramp. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, under its Interagency and International Services program, completed the dredging in 2001. The cost for the design and maintenance dredging contract was fully funded by DOBOR.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining the breakwater. No Federal channel exists at this location. The Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, Department of Land and Natural Resources is responsible for maintaining the boat ramp.