Interested parties are hereby notified that an application has been received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) 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. Edward Underwood, Department of Land & Natural Resources, Division of Boating & Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), 333 Queen Street, Suite 300, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
AGENT: Scott Sullivan, Sea Engineering, Inc., 41-305 Kalanianaole Highway, Makai Research Pier, Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795
LOCATION: Keauhou Bay, Keauhou, Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii
Coordinate location: 19.56139°N, -155.96333°W
PURPOSE: Increase navigational capacity and accessibility.
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).
PROPOSED ACTIVITY: DOBOR proposes to reconfigure the existing layout of offshore mooring sites within Keauhou Bay. The bay contains 9 vessel moorings for commercial and recreational use, which are secured by a total of 16 anchors. DOBOR proposes to remove and replace all of the existing mooring structures and add 7 new moorings sites using a standardized mooring design. The 16 total mooring sites would require 32 total anchor locations. DOBOR also proposes to remove and dispose of all existing floats, mooring hardware, and unsuitable materials found within the proposed mooring design footprint (See: Reference plan). Structures colonized by corals would be abandoned in place to avoid impacting corals.
The standardized offshore mooring system would provide mooring space for a total of 16 vessels (two 40-foot sailing canoes, six 30-foot vessels, three 40-foot vessels, three 50-foot vessels and two 60-foot vessels). The proposed layout would occupy the seafloor within the current boundaries of the existing 9 moorings within the bay and would not extend beyond the current footprint. The mooring layout would have four mooring rows, each row spaced at least 50 feet apart. Three rows would be positioned south of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Ingress/Egress Channel of the bay and one row would be positioned to the north of the channel. Vessels would be anchored at both bow and stern by steel, dead-weight, Danforth-type gravity boat anchors. Anchor weights would be dependent on the length of the vessel. The distance between each mooring within a row would be 2.5 times the water depth to provide 3 to 5 feet of clearance. The length of chain attaching the anchor to mooring floats at the bow and stern of each vessel would be equal to the depth of the water plus an additional five feet. Pennant lines connecting the mooring floats to the vessel would be approximately 20 feet long.
Removal of the existing mooring structures and installation of the new mooring system would occur from a single 72-foot floating platform/work boat anchored at four stationary points to allow for winch-adjusted maneuvering and positioning for access and staging at each mooring site within the bay. All demolition/removal and installation activities would be achieved using a crane staged atop the work boat for accurate control. Precise deployment of mooring anchors at proposed anchor locations would require GPS-coordination and diver assistance.
The proposed work would be accomplished in approximately four to seven days; placement of mooring anchors and coral relocation would require approximately three days of in-water work and mooring line/hardware attachment would require approximately one day of in-water work.
The DOBOR work plan is attached to this notice (Enclosure 1).
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Currently, each existing mooring design and maintenance is the responsibility of each respective mooring/vessel owner. An evaluation by DOBOR of the existing mooring anchors indicates the current structures are aging, undersized and/or un-engineered, with use of unsuitable anchorage material such as concrete blocks, steel train wheels, manta-type anchors, coral heads, etc. Existing inadequate mooring anchors contribute to continued mooring slippage or failure during storm and high wave conditions and consequent damage to vessels, property and natural resources in the bay.
The purpose of the proposed action is to maximize the efficient use of mooring space, improve mooring holding strength as well as improve accessibility for both recreational and commercial boaters within the bay.
MITIGATION: DOBOR has proposed a Best Management Practices (BMP) plan to be implemented throughout the entirety of the proposed action to avoid and minimize potential adverse impacts to historic properties, federally-protected marine species, and coral reef resources.
DOBOR has proposed ceasing of all work in the immediate area of any discovered, previously unidentified archaeological sites within the work footprint with subsequent coordination with the Hawaii Island field office of the State Historic Preservation Division. Work would not resume until DOBOR receives clearance from the Historic Preservation Division. Installation work will be conducted from atop a non-motorized, four-point anchored platform that can be positioned using a winch system thereby eliminating the potential for direct physical impact by protected marine species with a motorized vessel. Mooring rows have been selected to avoid interference within the USCG Ingress/Egress Channel and maintain navigational accessibility that is currently encroached upon by existing moorings. Proposed anchor locations have been pre-surveyed by DOBOR for placement with the greatest avoidance of coral resources in the bay. For those coral colonies that cannot be avoided based on the proposed configuration, DOBOR would relocate in accordance with the proposed mitigation plan. Divers would assist installation of each mooring anchor to survey for marine life, endangered/threatened marine species, and coral prior to anchor deployment. Radial safety zones around each mooring anchor are included in the layout to avoid potential impacts to marine resources by the anchors and anchor chains and account for mooring line sweep during normal and storm conditions. For coral(s) present within the safety zone, DOBOR proposes to relocate to a receiving site within 8 to 15-feet from its origin (receiving sites to be determined on site).
The DOBOR BMP plan is attached to this notice (Enclosure 2).
The application proposes no compensatory mitigation.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: The Corps may not issue a DA permit for the proposed activity until a certification or waiver of certification, as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, has been received from the State of Hawaii, Department of Health-Clean Water Branch (DOH-CWB). The Corps has determined the proposed action would not result in the discharge of fill material into a water of the U.S. and would not require authorization under Section 404. If this office has not received within the 30-day comment period a written determination from the DOH-CWB stating that water quality certification is required, this office will assume that no water quality certification is required prior to the issuance of a DA permit.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT CERTIFICATION: The proposed action would 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 an individual CZM Consistency Concurrence from the State of Hawaii, Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, Office of Planning.
CULTURAL AND HISTORIC RESOURCES: In accordance with the requirements set forth in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the proposed work is being evaluated for possible effects on historic properties, including those listed in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
The proposed action would involve in-water work activities sited entirely in marine waters located seaward of TMK (3) 7-8-012:008. DOBOR has not proposed any upland activities within the subject parcel. All staging and stockpiling activities will occur on the work platform. DOBOR has determined there are no known cultural or historic resources on or beneath the sandy substrate within the mooring anchor locations.
The Corps has reviewed the National and State Registers of Historic Places for the Island of Hawaii for the presence of historic properties within the subject parcel and none were identified. A nearby parcel, TMK (3) 7-8-012:017, features a historic property identified on the State Inventory of Historic Places (SIHP) as Site #10-37-4383, the “Kauikeaouli Stone”, King Kamehameha III Birthplace. No proposed project activities would occur at TMK (3) 7-8-012:017.
Accordingly, a determination of eligibility and, if needed, a determination of effect will be made in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD). This application is being coordinated with 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 will be considered in our final assessment of the proposed work.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536) (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.
DOBOR assessed marine resources at Keauhou Bay within a 12-foot radius of each of 32 proposed mooring anchor locations. The results of the survey identified corals, invasive species, seagrass, marine protected species and other non-coral, macro-invertebrates (see Enclosure 2, Marine Biological Resource Surveys). No federally-listed threatened, endangered, or candidate species of coral were observed during surveys.
The Corps has determined the following ESA-listed marine species have the potential to occur within the project area: Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), endangered, Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi), endangered, and Hawaii Insular False Killer Whale (Pseudora crassidens), endangered. Concurrently with the issuance of this notice, the Corps will evaluate the potential project-related impacts to protected marine species and their designated critical habitat and, if required, initiate consultation with the local NMFS office.
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 NMFS.
The seafloor in Keauhou Bay is a mixture of basalt boulders, carbonate and basalt sediment, and modern reef. The central portion of the bay is covered by sandy and cobble substrate. The sandy substrate is a mixture of carbonate sand and cobble, basalt cinder and terrigenous sand grains. Boulders in the region are basaltic in origin. The modern reef extends across both carbonate reefal platforms and pre-existing, submerged basalt flows. Much of the hard substrate in the region is covered by modern, living coral. DOBOR has selected mooring anchor locations in areas consisting primarily of sandy and absent of corals. Of the 32 proposed anchor locations, 13 anchor locations (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, B’1, B’2, B’3, C1, C7, D2 and D3) would require relocation of corals present within the 5-foot radius of the anchor point.
Based on the project location, the Corps has determined that the project area contains EFH identified for the following Management Unit Species: Bottomfish (all life stages), Pelagics (all life stages), Coral Reef Ecosystem, and Crustaceans (lobster and crab, all life stages). Concurrently with the issuance of this notice, the Corps will evaluate the potential project-related impacts to EFH and, if required, initiate consultation with the local NMFS office.
Reference additional benthic information provided at Enclosure 2 of this notice.
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 Corps 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-2012-00127.
All e-mail comments should be sent to: email@example.com
Conventional mail comments should be sent to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District
Regulatory Office, Building 230
Attention: Jessie Paahana
Fort 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. Jessie Paahana at (808) 835-4107 if further information is desired concerning this notice. This public notice is issued by the Chief, Regulatory Office.