01/04/13 – DLNR To Hold Public Information Meeting In Kihei Maui to Discuss Keawakapu Artificial Reef Corrective Action Plan

Posted on Jan 4, 2013 in News Releases

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
News Release

 

NEIL ABERCROMBIE
GOVERNOR
WILLIAM J. AILA JR,
CHAIRPERSON

For Immediate Release January 04, 2013

DLNR To Hold Public Information Meeting In Kihei Maui to
Discuss Keawakapu Artificial Reef Corrective Action Plan

 

KIHEI, MAUI — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will hold a public information meeting on Thursday, Jan. 10, in Kihei to present DLNR’s technical report and corrective action plan for the Keawakapu artificial reef.  The purpose of the plan is to remediate coral accidentally damaged when concrete modules were placed at the Keawakapu artificial reef in early December, 2009.

The meeting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary education center at 726 South Kihei Rd.

The technical report, prepared for DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), provides background information on the incident and analyses three remediation options.

DAR staff, along with staff from Planning Solutions, Inc., will explain the scope of the technical report and the three options under consideration: 1) leaving all modules in place; 2) partial removal of some modules to minimize further coral damage; and 3) removal of all 125 modules that landed on live coral.

The 110-page report is available for public review on the DAR website at: http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/pdf/KeawakapuAR.pdf

Based on the technical report recommendations, DAR proposes to remove all of the 125 modules that are on the reef.

Chronology:

On Dec. 2, 2009, approximately 1,400 “Z”-shaped concrete fish habitats were deployed at the Keawakapu Artificial Reef, offshore of Keawakapu, Maui.

Subsequently, DLNR staff surveyed the placement of the Z blocks.  The majority of the Z blocks (about 1,200) were located within the designated artificial reef boundaries. However, approximately 125 Z blocks fell on live coral outside the artificial reef boundaries.  DLNR conducted an internal investigation and invited National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to conduct an independent investigation to develop new standard operating procedures so this kind of incident does not occur in the future.

In March 2010, DLNR held a public information meeting on Maui to present the findings and recommendations of the investigation by NOAA and USFWS.  At that meeting the public provided additional information about what should be done. The preferred option was total removal of all modules outside the designated area.

DLNR provided the NOAA and USFWS investigation to Planning Solutions, Inc. to analyze the data and develop an environmental assessment to determine the most appropriate remedial strategy.  DLNR submitted an application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the boundaries of the artificial reef site from approximately 52 acres to approximately 37 acres. If accepted, this revision will mean that all Z blocks deployed in December 2009 are within the designated artificial reef site. All re-deployed modules will be located in the revised smaller site.

Background

In 1962, the State created the Keawakapu Artificial Reef.  It is approximately 52 acres.   It consists of 150 cars, 2,250 tire modules, 35 concrete slabs, and 1 vessel (“St. Anthony”) (added in 1997).  The 1,400 concrete modules was the first deployment since 1990. .

DLNR has four shallow water (50-100′) artificial reefs and one deepwater (300-420′) artificial reef.  Three of the shallow water reefs are located off O‘ahu at Wai‘anae, in Maunalua Bay, and Kualoa.  The fourth is located off Keawakapu on Maui.  The deep water artificial reef is located off ‘Ewa Beach, O‘ahu.

Numerous studies have shown that artificial reefs are effective in enhancing reef habitat, increasing fish biomass, and diversifying the species of fish within the reef site.  Artificial reefs are key components in the State fishery enhancement programs as well as a substrate for the settlement of coral polyps (coral growth).  Artificial reefs are also attractive SCUBA and snorkel dive sites.

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For more information news media may contact:

Deborah Ward

DLNR Public Information Specialist
Phone: (808) 587-0320