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POH-2014-00172

Published Oct. 14, 2014
Expiration date: 11/14/2014

Kalaeloa Artificial Reef Project

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: Mr. William Aila, Board of Land and Natural Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130, Honolulu, Hawaii  96813.

AGENT: Frazer McGilvray, Division of Aquatic Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 330, Honolulu, HI 96813.

LOCATION:  The proposed project is located 1.25 miles directly offshore of the Haseko Development in Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii. 
1.   21˚ 17.022’  N 158˚ 2.880’  W
2.   21˚ 16.998’  N 158˚ 2. 820’ W
3.   21˚ 16.944’  N 158˚2.820’   W
4.   21˚ 16.500’  N 158˚2.850’   W
5.   21˚ 16.500’  N 158˚3.000’   W
6.   21° 16.950’  N 158° 3.000’  W

WORK:  The State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) is proposing to complete the following activities:

-Establish an artificial reef site on the seafloor offshore from the ‘Ewa District of the Island  of O‘ahu  that  is  properly  placed  and of  sufficient  size  to  accommodate  substantial  creation  of artificial-reef structures.  For this purpose, DAR has delineated an approximately 108-acre area located between depths of 60 and 120 feet that is mostly devoid of coral and valuable  marine habitat. 

• At least two separate piles (sets) of concrete Z-blocks will be placed on the ocean floor approximately 50 to 100 feet apart. A total of approximately 700-800 blocks will be used for the first increment; these will cover a seafloor area of about 8,000 square feet and provide shelter and surface area that will  improve marine habitat quality at the site.

PURPOSE: To provide the public with additional fishing and diving opportunities by constructing an artificial reef on relatively flat, barren, and uproductive areas of the Pacific Ocean.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Completion of this project is consistent with the DAR mission within the State Department of Land and Natural Resources.  DAR believes the reef will provide direct benefits for O‘ahu’s fishing and marine  recreational  industries  as  well  as  substantial  enhancements  to  the  offshore  marine environment.   It is consistent with a 2004 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed by DAR, HASEKO (Ewa), Inc. (HASEKO), and the Department of the Army.  The MOA allows HASEKO to fulfill one of the Special Conditions imposed by the Department of the Army permit for its proposed Ocean Pointe Marina.

MITIGATION: No mitigation is proposed as part of the project, as the project will improve marine habitat by providing shelter and surface area where it does not exist currently.

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 project  area  is  offshore of the Honouliuli ahupua‘a,  which  is the  largest  and  westernmost ahupua‘a in the ‘Ewa District.  At over a mile offshore, the types of historic sites that could be encountered at the proposed artificial reef site are typically limited to shipwrecks.  The marine biological survey of the proposed site noted no evidence of shipwrecks or other human evidence that might be considered historically significant.  In addition, high resolution (100 kHz) side-scan sonar conducted at the proposed site for the project by University of Hawai‘i scientists revealed only one feature (outside of the site) that exhibits some significant vertical extent.  No fishponds are believed to have existed in the shoreline area, but the coast has been used extensively for fishing and gathering of limu, fish, lobster, and other shellfish. The surveys contained no indication that the offshore area where the proposed reef site exists is particularly valued for traditional cultural practices.

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), Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi), and the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).  The Corps does not anticipate any direct or indirect physical impacts, risks for entanglement or endangerment, exposure to elevated noise levels, turbidity, pollutants or loss of habitat.  The Corps has preliminarily determined that the Kalaeloa Artificial Reef Project may affect but, is not likely to adversely affect federally listed species proposed for listing under ESA or their critical habitat due to the low risk of direct impacts, the temporary nature of the installation, 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 will initiate informal consultation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Protected Resources Division (NOAA, NMFS – PRD) on this project.

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).  No live coral heads or coral reefs are known to exist within the project footprint.  The installation of the Z-blocks will have an impact on turbidity and involve benthic disturbance.  Therefore, the Corps has preliminarily determined that the proposed Kalaeloa Artificial Reef Project may adversely affect EFH.  In accordance with the requirements set forth in Section 305(b)(1-4) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Corps will initiate coordination with NOAA, NMFS – Habitat Conservation Division (HCD) for the project.

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 Michelle.R.Lynch@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-2014-00172.

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. Shelly Lynch at (808) 835-4300 if further information is desired concerning this notice.

 


Contact Information

Regulatory Office
Building 230
Fort Shafter, HI  96858-5440
(808) 835-4303
CEPOH-RO@usace.army.mil 

Guam Field Office
Apra Harbor Naval Complex
PSC 455 Box 188
FPO, AP 96540-1088  Guam
(671) 339-2108 
CEPOH-RO@usace.army.mil