Interested parties are hereby notified that an application has been received for a Department of the Army permit for certain work in waters of the United States as described below and shown on the attached drawings.
APPLICANT: Hiilei Kawelo, Paepae O Heeia
AGENT: Joseph Farber, Farber & Associates
LOCATION: Heeia Fishpond, Kaneohe Bay, Koolaupoko, Island of Oahu, Hawaii; TMK (1) 4-5-005:001; 21.43570N, -157.80529W
WORK: The applicant is proposing to restore an 80-foot breach in the Makai Wall of the historic Heeia Fishpond using a combination of locally sourced materials and existing, refurbished materials. In addition, the applicant proposes a 10-year maintenance plan for repairs and restoration activities necessary to the continued operation of the fishpond.
PURPOSE: To restore the functional capacity and historical integrity of the Heeia fishpond for traditional aquaculture production, cultural practices and educational opportunities.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Keapuka flood of 1965 destroyed over 1,000-feet of the 3,500-foot long fishpond wall, including the most severe damage, an 80-foot break of the Makai Wall and associated makaha (sluice gate). Ocean currents at this location have naturally scoured the seafloor up to 6-feet below grade where the wall previously stood. In 1992, rehabilitation efforts resulted in the construction of a temporary wall just mauka of the break, where the scour was shallowest at 3-feet deep. The existing 253-foot long temporary, angular wall is composed of approximately 70-cubic yards of concrete test cylinders. Over 16 years later, the temporary wall is failing; the 88-acre fishpond is no longer usable for aquaculture as cultivated species are able to escape and predators are allowed access into the pond at high tide. As such, the first and most crucial step towards restoration of the aquacultural capacity of the Heeia fishpond is the repairing of the break in the Makai Wall.
The repair will require dismantling of the temporary wall, filling of the scour and restoration of the Makai Wall and makaha. Approximately 110-cubic yards of fill are required to fill the scour, raising it to the surrounding seafloor elevation and existing, original alignment of the Makai Wall. 70-cubic yards of fill will be obtained from the dismantled temporary wall, with the concrete test cylinders being re-used as the inner core of the scour fill. The remaining 40-cubic yards of fill will be sourced from local quarries; rocks, ranging from 100-pounds (“One-Man” rocks) in size to 2-pounds in size (hakahaka). This will allow for continuity with the size and composition of rocks used for the existing Makai Wall. Existing, 100-200lb stone (niho), found scattered around the fishpond will be repositioned into the scour using handheld tools (spades, cargo nets, etc.) and in some cases, floating pontoon flat beds, to form the foundation of the wall. Dismantling of the temporary wall and transport of the individual concrete test cylinders to fill the void atop the niho stone foundation will also be conducted by hand, chain-gang style. Filling of the scour will not require grouting. The scour will be built up by hand, in successive layers; the Niho stones serve as a base, with an inner core of the concrete test cylinders placed lengthwise, end-to-end, in layers with supporting hakahaka and One-Man rock used for the exterior face of the scour.
Once the scour is built up along the existing footprint to a uniform height and width as determined by the seafloor elevation and base width of the remnant Makai wall, the fishpond wall will be repaired along the break, including incorporation of a new makaha. The repaired Makai wall will be contiguous to the existing Makai wall segments, following the existing fishpond wall alignment, footprint, design and dimensions. Approximately 145-cubic yards of fill is required to repair the Makai Wall in two 35-foot long segments adjoined at the center by a 10-foot wide gap for the Makaha. Majority of the fill will be collected on-site from rocks that were dislodged during the 1965 flood and the constant wave action the fishpond sustains. Large pieces of dead coral (approximately 62-cubic yards) will be imported from the local quarry and used for the inner fill of the repaired wall. Additionally, 3-cubic yards of crushed coral, also from the local quarry, will be used for a 1-inch thick top layer for the wall and makaha. These materials will be placed in the traditional, mortar-less, interlocking fashion known as hooniho with one-man rocks as the facing and base and an inner fill of smaller rocks and large pieces of dead coral, topped with crushed coral. The finished wall is specified at two 35-foot long rock wall segments that stand 3.5-foot high with a 15.5-foot wide base that tapers to a width of 12.5-feet at the top. The southernmost segment will be constructed first, followed by the northern segment, as access to the latter requires use of the pontoon.
The final 10-foot gap between the two wall segments will accommodate the construction of the double-gated makaha. The wall will continue in this gap, allowing for two 6-foot deep lanes that are each 18-feet long and 3-feet wide. An 8-foot wide wooden, clear-span bridge constructed over the 10-foot wide makaha will allow for foot traffic over the gap.
Maintenance of the wall is required to assure the successful rearing of fish within the pond. As constant wave action dislodges wall stones naturally, the applicant is proposing a 10-year maintenance plan that reflects the need for this work. The proposed wall maintenance will involve the following actions, manual replacement of dislodged stones onto the wall and removal (by hand with hand tools and without pesticides) of mangrove and other invasive plant species from the fishpond walls. The proposed maintenance activities will not change the original, permitted, footprint, design, size, scope and/or purpose of the existing wall. All maintenance activities will be conducted by hand and using no more than the methods and equipment described above.
(Reference Appendix A, DA Permit Application and Supplement for further information, specifications, photographs and design schematics.)
MITIGATION: The action proposed by the applicant has avoided and minimized impacts to the surrounding aquatic environment to the maximum extent practicable. The proposed work is limited to the original alignment and footprint of the fishpond wall where the breach occurred. Re-use of existing stone from the original fishpond wall and dismantled temporary wall components to fill the scour and build up the wall will reduce the amount of imported fill material required for the project. Sourcing clean, imported fill material from local quarries reduces risk of introduced pollutants/foreign materials to the Kaneohe Bay. The use of traditional, manual construction methods and hand tools minimizes impacts to the aquatic environment typical of modern, heavy machinery and power tools i.e., petroleum leaks, substrate disturbance, etc. Repair of the wall and subsequent maintenance of the fishpond conductivity are expected to improve the overall productivity and function of the aquatic environment at this location. In addition to maintaining the structural integrity of the wall, the applicant has proposed to remove (by hand with hand tools and without pesticides) invasive, non-native vegetation and algal species i.e., mangrove, Gracilaria salicornia, etc., to improve the overall quality and productivity of the fishpond. The applicant has proposed Best Management Practices specific to the Heeia Fishpond to govern activities before, during and after construction and maintenance to avoid and minimize impacts to the aquatic environment and its inhabitants (See Pages 19-23 of Appendix A).
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: The proposed action will result in a discharge of fill material into a water of the U.S. and will require authorization from the Corps in accordance to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1972 (CWA). Under Section 401 of the CWA (Public Law 95-217), the Corps may not issue a permit for the described work until the applicant obtains a certification, or waiver of certification, from the State of Hawaii, Department of Health – Clean Water Branch.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT CERTIFICATION: The proposed activity 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 by 16 U.S.C. 1456(c)(3), the Corps may not issue a permit for the described work until the applicant obtains a Federal Consistency Concurrence from the State of Hawaii, Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism – Office of Planning.
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 shall state clearly and concisely, the reasons and rationale for holding a public hearing.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) has been consulted for the presence or absence of historic properties, including those listed in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. The Heeia Fishpond was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (50-80-10-327) in 1973. The area of potential effect (APE) includes the registered Heeia Fishpond. An inventory of historically and culturally significant areas within the APE was conducted in February 2012 by Cultural Surveys Hawaii, Inc. (CSH) under CSH’s annual archaeological permit #12-04 issued by the Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation Division/Department of Land and Natural Resources (SHPD/DLNR); findings attached (Appendix B). CSH concluded that “Other than the constituent components of the existing wall structure, including basalt and coral materials, no other historically-significant cultural materials were observed in or near the immediate vicinity of the project area”. Because the wall will be repaired to the same dimensions of the original wall and will be constructed by hand using traditional methods (hooniho), tools (oo) and (with the exception of the re-used concrete test cylinders for the inner core of the wall) materials (basalt rock, coral), the Corps has preliminarily determined that the proposed fishpond wall repair and associated maintenance activities will not adversely impact the historical, structural or cultural integrity of the historic Heeia fishpond. In accordance with the requirements set forth in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Corps requests written concurrence from the Hawaii SHPD on this determination.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), federal agencies must 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. Based on the project location, the following protected species have the potential to occur near the project location: Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), endangered, Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), threatened, and Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi), endangered. The applicant has proposed a traditional construction method that does not require the use of heavy machinery and/or equipment typical of structural repairs and therefore, the Corps does not anticipate any direct or indirect physical impacts, risks for entanglement or endangerment, exposure to elevated noise levels, turbidity or pollutants or loss of habitat. The Corps has preliminarily determined that the fishpond wall repair may affect but, is not likely to adversely affect federally listed species, species proposed for listing under ESA or their critical habitat due to the low-impact nature of the proposed action combined with the preventative measures proposed in the attached BMP Plan (Appendix A). In accordance with the requirements set forth in Section 7 of the ESA, the Corps requests written concurrence from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Protected Resources Division (NOAA, NMFS – PRD) on this determination.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed work is being evaluated for possible effects to Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) pursuant to the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996 (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. et seq and associated federal regulations found at 50 CFR 600 Subpart K. The Honolulu District 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 area as identified by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The benthic habitat in and around the project area is characterized as an inshore reef flat covered in a mixture of mud, sand, coral rubble and rock; the interior, estuarine area of the pond is characterized by fine sediments, up to 20-inches deep, over coral substrate. No live coral heads or coral reefs are known to exist within the project footprint. The low-impact nature of the construction activities associated with the fishpond wall repair and maintenance and proposed BMPs (See Appendix A) eliminate the risk for any direct or indirect impacts that may reduce the quality and/or quantity of EFH such as elevated turbidity levels or benthic disturbance. Additionally, the proposed action will not require the use of heavy machinery and/or equipment and will be conducted by hand with hand tools. Therefore, we have preliminarily determined that the proposed fishpond wall repair and associated maintenance activities will not adversely affect EFH, including anadromous fish and federally managed fishery resources rather, facilitate management of aquatic habitat for native fish species. In accordance with the requirements set forth in Section 305(b)(1-4) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Corps requests written concurrence from the NOAA, NMFS – Habitat Conservation Division (HCD) for the above finding.
AUTHORITY: This permit application will be reviewed under the following authorities:
(X) Perform work in or affecting navigable waters of the United States – Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403).
(X) Discharge dredged or fill material into waters of the United States – Section 404 Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344). The Corps’ public interest review will consider the guidelines set forth under Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act (40 CFR 230).
( ) Transport dredged material for the purpose of dumping it into ocean waters - Section 103 Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1413). The Corps’ public interest review will consider the criteria established under authority of Section 102(a) of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, as amended (40 CFR Parts 220 to 229), as appropriate.
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.
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 proposal. In order to be accepted, e-mail comments must originate from the author’s e-mail account. All e-mail comments should be sent to Jessie.K.Paahana@usace.army.mil. Conventional mail comments should be sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, Building 230, Ft. Shafter, HI 96848. Both conventional mail and e-mail comments must include the permit applicant’s name and reference number, as shown below, and the commentor’s name, address, and phone number. All comments whether conventional mail or e-mail must reach this office, no later than the expiration date of this public notice to ensure consideration. Please include the following name and reference number: POH-2011-00204.
Comments on the described work, with the reference number, should 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. Jessie K. Paahana at (808) 438-0391 if further information is desired concerning this notice.
1. Appendix A: DA Permit Application and Supplement
2. Appendix B: “Archaeological Literature Review and Field Inspection for the Heeia Fishpond Wall Repair Project” and “Cultural Impact Assessment for the Heeia Fishpond Wall Repair Project”