LETTER OF PERMISSION INTERESTED PARTY COORDINATION
Interested parties are hereby notified that an application has been received for authorization of a Department of the Army Letter of Permission to conduct a demonstration munitions removal project in waters offshore Pokai Bay and at Waianae Small Boat Harbor, Waianae, Oahu Island, as described below and shown on the attached sheets.
Response Deadline: March 4, 2011
Reference: POH-2010-00128, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, application for Remotely Operated Underwater Munitions Recovery System (ROUMRS) and Energy Hazards Demilitarization System (EHDS) Demonstration Project, Waianae, Oahu Island, Hawaii
Location: Offshore Pokai Bay and Waianae Small Boat Harbor, Oahu Island, Hawaii
Permit Type: Letter of Permission
Permit Authority: Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899
Project Description: The applicant proposes to conduct, by current technology, mapping, selected recovery and disposal of munitions found at three areas of Ordnance Reef, a navigable water of the U.S.. The proposed work will consist of the re-location of identified munitions, selective recovery by Remotely Operated Underwater Munitions Recovery System (ROUMRS) and processing aboard a barge-mounted Energetic Hazards Demilitarization System (EHDS). No detonation of found munitions in the aquatic environment is proposed.
The activity includes the installation of temporary mooring arrays for the working EHDS barge and the operation of the ROUMRS vehicle from 20 to 120-foot depths at 10 locations. No permanent structures or any discharge of fill material into in navigable waters, are proposed. It has been determined, therefore, that the proposed demonstration project is not prohibited by or otherwise subject to regulation under Section 404, CWA.
The work is scheduled to begin in mid-2011. The purpose of the project is to address community concerns regarding military munitions in Pokai Bay, demonstrate the feasibility of non- human diver munitions recovery operations and identify future measures to ensure the protection of public health and safety.
Endangered Species Act, Section 7: The Corps has assessed potential impacts to Federally-listed and proposed species in the project area. The project action areas are within 50 yards of each active barge mooring area, each active ROUMRS transect, and each active itinerary of project vessel traffic to and from Waianae Small Boat Harbor. The control of inadvertent discharges of wastes, fuels, lubricants and the authorized disposal of demilitarized scrap metal from project-related machinery, equipment and supplies located on adjacent upland areas are not subject to regulation under this Letter of Permission. Below are the species that occur or have potential to occur in the project area and the Corps’ determination of effect:
Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), threatened, no adverse effect.
Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate), endangered, no adverse effect.
Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys imbricate) endangered, no effect.
Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), threatened, no effect.
Olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys imbricate) threatened, no effect.
Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) endangered, no effect.
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) endangered, no adverse effect
North Pacific right whales (Eubalaena japonica) endangered, no effect.
Sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) endangered, no effect.
Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) endangered, no effect
Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) endangered, no adverse effect.
This project considered three stressors which have the potential to impact ESA-listed species: collision with project vessels, disturbance from human activities and equipment operation, and exposure to construction wastes and discharges at the loading/unloading dock location. The Corps has further determined that the project activities are within the scope of the Standard Local Operating Procedures for Endangered Species in the Central and Western Pacific Region (Pac-SLOPES) under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Further, appropriate general conditions of Pac-SLOPES will be stipulated as Special Conditions to this LOP, if approved.
The Corps has preliminarily determined that the proposed activity will have no adverse effect to threatened and/or endangered species. Notice for this determination is hereby provided to NOAA NMFS PRD and USFWS for their review, comment and concurrence.
Critical Habitat: Critical habitat designated under the ESA for the Hawaiian Monk Seal on May 26, 1988 extends from shore to a depth of 20 fathoms in 10 areas of the NWHI. There is no designated or proposed critical habitat for any listed marine species within or adjacent to the proposed project area. Therefore, this project will have no effect on designated Hawaiian Monk Seal critical habitat.
Essential Fish Habitat (EFH): In accordance with the Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Corps has determined that the proposal would Not Adversely Affect EFH and requests comments and written concurrence for this determination from NOAA NMFS HCD.
National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Section 106: The Area of Potential Effect (APE) considered by this DA permit application includes no properties listed on both the Hawaii and National Register of Historic Places.
The proposed scope of activities reviewed under state historic preservation regulations are the same being reviewed under Section 106, NHPA. Further, the proposed project is not expected to result in the temporary or permanent loss of aquatic organisms or habitat which may be of significance to Native Hawaiian practitioners as a traditional cultural property for subsistence and access purposes. The Corps has determined, therefore, that issuance of a LOP for the Demonstration Project will have “No Effect” on any eligible or listed historic and traditional cultural properties on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Written comments for this determination from SHPD and OHA are requested. Interested parties will also be afforded the opportunity to comment.
OTHER GOVERNMENT AUTHORIZATIONS/CERTIFICATIONS:
Prior to the issuance of a valid Department of Army permit, the applicant is required to obtain a Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program consistency determination, or waiver from the Office of Planning. The requirements for a CZM consistency statement and accompanying information are available for public review at the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, Office of Planning, CZM Program Office, 235 S. Beretania Street, 6th Floor, Honolulu, HI. 96813. Comments on the consistency statement should be submitted in writing to the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, Office of Planning, CZM Program Office, P.O. Box 2359, Honolulu, HI 96804 no later than 30 days from the date of this notice.
The work area is partially located within the Waianae Small Boat Harbor (WSBH), an area controlled by the Division of Boating & Ocean Recreation, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. The frequency, duration and use of water-borne machinery and vessels as proposed in WSBH and the offshore Pokai Bay to accomplish the project shall also be subject of notification to the Commander, U.S. Coast Guard District Honolulu. His department shall be consulted to determine the conditions under which the proposed work shall, or shall not take place, in navigable waters subject to their control and security.
Other State and local approvals required may include a Community Noise Control Permit and Air Quality Permit from the State Department of Health, and a Special Management Area Use Permit or Building Permit from the City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting.
Please submit any comments you may have within 30 days of the date of this letter. If no response is received within the 30-day period, I will conclude that you have no comments. Please cite reference number POH-2010-00128 in your comments which may be mailed to: Regulatory Branch (CEPOH-EC-R/Watanabe); U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District; Building 230; Fort Shafter, HI 96858. Alternatively, comments may be faxed to (808) 438-4060 or via e-mail to: Farley.K.Watanabe@usace.army.mil with the file number in the subject title. Should you have questions, please call Mr. Farley.K.Watanabe at 438-7701 or by e-mail address above.