Public Notice by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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. Neil Anthony Sims, CEO, Kampachi Farms, LLC
LOCATION: The proposed mooring site is located approximately 6 nautical miles west of Keauhou Bay and 7 nautical miles south-southwest of Kailua Bay, off the Kona Coast of the Island of Hawaii, Hawaii. Latitude: 19.55 N Longitude: -156.066667
WORK: The proposed project is the culture and harvest of a managed coral reef species of fish, kampachi (Seriola rivolina) using a fixed mooring and a single proprietary Aquapod net pen. To accomplish this, the proposed action will require the deployment of a single-point mooring array, consisting of a deadweight anchor (approximately 15,000 lbs), mooring line (12,000 ft of 1.5” Polypropylene and nylon caternary), surface buoy (4 ft diameter foam-filled steel sphere), surface vessel (modified 28-ft Sportfisher, plywood and fiberglass), and the submerged Aquapod net pen (22-ft. diameter plastic, lumber, and brass mesh) to conduct a single-cohort experimental grow-out of around 2,000 native, hatchery-reared kampachi in a reiteration of the Velella “drifter-cage” experiment.
PURPOSE: The proposed project’s purpose is to determine if similar biological performance of the fish can be attained in very deep water on a single-point mooring rather than an unanchored “drifter” pen, as was done in the Velella “beta trial.” In addition, approximately 8,000 lbs of fish are proposed to be cultured for commercial sale.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Please see the attached documentation for additional information on the proposed project and its potential impacts.
MITIGATION: To avoid impacts to waters of the U.S., the proposed project has been designed in such a way that no discharge of dredged or fill material will occur for the installation of the structure. To further minimize impacts to waters, as well as prevent adverse effects to endangered species, Best Management Practices (BMPs) are proposed to prevent detrimental impacts to the aquatic resources present in the open-ocean environment adjacent to the proposed project site. Please see the attached information for details of the proposed BMPs.
WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION: The Corps may not issue a DA permit for any activity that may result in a discharge into waters of the United States until the applicant has obtained a certification or waiver of certification as required under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, from the State of Hawaii Department of Health – Clean Water Branch.
COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT ACT CERTIFICATION: Section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, requires the applicant to certify that the described activity affecting land or water uses in the Coastal Zone complies with the enforceable policies of the State/Territory’s approved Coastal Zone Management Program and that the activity will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Program. A permit may not be issued until the Office of State Planning, Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism has concurred with the applicant’s certification.
PUBLIC HEARING: Any person may request that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests for public hearings must be in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, and state clearly and concisely, the reasons and rationale for holding a public hearing.
CULTURAL RESOURCES: The latest published version of the National and State Registers of Historic Places (NRHP and SRHP) has been consulted to assist in determining the presence or absence of historic properties, including those listed in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. There are no listed or eligible properties in the vicinity of the worksite. Consultation of the NRHP and SRHP constitutes the extent of cultural resource investigations by the District Engineer at this time, and he is otherwise unaware of the presence of such resources. In addition, activities are limited to a land form or waterway (the Pacific Ocean approximately 6 nautical miles offshore) with low probability for intact cultural deposits. Therefore, the Corps has determined that the proposed work has no potential to cause effect to any historic property listed, or eligible for listing, in the NRHP. This application is being coordinated with the State Historic Preservation Division (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 the final assessment of the proposed work.
ENDANGERED SPECIES: Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires federal agencies to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and/or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ensure that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of species listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. Concurrently with the issuance of this public notice, the USACE will evaluate the potential impacts to proposed and/or listed species and their designated critical habitat and provide separate consultation letters to the NMFS and/or USFWS, as required, with the USACE’s effects determination for the proposed project.
ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The proposed work is being evaluated for possible effects to Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC) pursuant to Section 305(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996 (MSFCMA) (16 U.S.C. 1855 (b)) and associated federal regulations found at 50 CFR Part 600 Subpart K. The Honolulu District area of responsibility includes EFH for species managed under Fishery Management Plans. Concurrently with the issuance of this public notice, the USACE will evaluate further the potential impacts to EFH and provide a separate consultation letter to the NMFS.
We have preliminarily determined that the described activity may adversely affect EFH, but that adverse effects will not be substantial. The proposed work may affect approximately 9 acres of EFH for bottomfish and seamount groundfish, precious corals and coral reef ecosystems and crustaceans. This Public Notice initiates consultation requirements with the NFMS under the MSFCMA. We have insufficient information at this time to assess the cumulative effects of the proposed work on EFH, but cumulative effects will be considered in our final assessment of the described work. Any conservation recommendations regarding EFH for federally managed fish will also be considered in our final assessment of the described work. This proposed project may also adversely affect associated species such as major prey or predator species which are not covered by Fishery Management Plans.
SPECIAL AREA DESIGNATION: None
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).
( ) 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.
USACE 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 USACE 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 and must include on the subject line of the e-mail message the permit applicant’s name and reference number as shown below. 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, Building 230 (Attn: CEPOH-EC-R), Ft. Shafter, HI 96858-5440. 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: Velella Gamma Trial, POH-2012-00016. Please contact Emilee Stevens at (808) 835-4310 if further information is desired concerning this notice.
Additional Project Information and Exhibits (15 pages) are attached to this Public Notice
|Project Summary: Culture and Harvest of a Managed Coral Reef Fish Species (Seriola rivoliana) Using a Fixed Mooring and Aquapod in Federal Waters West of the Island of Hawaii, State of Hawaii
Applicant: Kampachi Farms, LLC
The proposed project is needed to advance our knowledge and technical capacity to raise marine finfish in various ocean settings. In particular,the proposed activity will help to develop information about and capability for raising finfish in a moored deepwater culture system.
The issuance of a Federal permit would allow the applicant to evaluate the feasibility of conducting fish culture in cages in Federal waters around Hawaii and add to our knowledge about the resulting environmental conditions. The main objective of the proposed activity is to raise hatchery‐produced marine finfish to harvest size inside a specially designed cage,tethered to feed barge, which is itself attached to a single‐point mooring in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The proposed activity is consistent with NOAA’s aquaculture policy and priorities, which, among other priorities,support the development of innovative technologies and encourage the advancement of scientific knowledge about open ocean aquaculture in the U.S. in an environmentally sound manner.
The permit would allow the permittee, Kampachi Farms,to demonstrate refinement of the Velella Concept(Fig. 1) in Federal waters. The Velella Concept is named after a genus of free floating hydrozoans that live on the surface of the open ocean, and would involve culturing 2,000 hatchery‐sourced native fish in a submersible net pen (CuPod),tethered behind a vessel adapted to serve as a feed barge and communications station, which would in turn be affixed to a single‐point mooring. The feed barge/vessel and net pen are collectively referred to as the “Velella array.” The proposed feed barge/vessel will be a retrofitted 28’fishing boat modified to function as an unmanned, remotely‐operated feed barge. The CuPod would be stocked with Seriola rivoliana (Almaco jack) from Blue Ocean Mariculture’s land‐based hatchery using a customized support vessel capable of transshipping the fish from the shore to the Velella array, which would be located in EEZ waters. Additional supply vessels, such as charter, fishing or small recreational craft would be used intermittently to transport divers and maintenance crew, and feed for the fish during the course of the demonstration project as needed. See “Overview of Proposed Operations” section for further details on array construction, maintenance, stocking, and harvesting The scope of the permit would be to authorize the use of the 132m3 (4,662 ft3) CuPod and 28’feed barge to culture fish, as well as authorize the harvest and transshipment of the fish to and from the CuPod using a U.S. CoastGuard registered support vessel. The use of land based activities (hatcheries, harbors) associated with licensed aquaculture businesses are not analyzed here, because these operations would not be changed by the issuance of the permit and are already occurring.
As the proposed activity constitutes a navigation hazard in navigable waters of the U.S, a letter of permission or a concurring Section 10 permit may also be required from the Army Corps of Engineers.
The project depends upon a deep water mooring structure, and but for the permit,this mooring would not likely be installed.
Most of the permitted activities (culture and harvest) would take place in Federal waters. Transport of fingerlings from the hatchery to the Velella array at sea and transport of harvested fish would involve a low level of use of state roads and waters, but these activities are not “at sea” or in Federal waters, and so are not germane to this permit request. Supply vessels including vessels transporting fingerlings and harvested fish would operate out of Honokohau Harbor and Keauhou Bay in West Hawaii.
All vessel traffic related to the permitted activity would transit State waters to access the Velella array within Federal waters. The feed barge / communication vessel would be launched from a trailer out of Honokohau Harbor or Keauhou Bay,towed to the site through State and Federal waters, and attached to the mooring line. The unstocked CuPod would be constructed and deployed from Kawaihae Harbor, and towed to the designated location, 5.5 nautical miles(nm) from shore in Federal waters. The single‐point mooring is proposed to be deployed at a position of latitude 19o33’North, longitude 156o 04’ West. A mooring scope ratio of 2:1 would be used (i.e.ratio of mooring line length to water depth), with a rope of length around 12,000 feet(2 nm). This means that the swing arc of the array would not impinge on bottom fish restricted fishing areas, the Humpback Whale Sanctuary waters, State waters, or any other marine protected zone. The stocking, culture and harvest of the fish would all take place within a 10,400 ft(1.73 nm)radius of the deployment point(see Fig. 2). The precise location of the tethered CuPod would depend on the oceanic conditions(currents and wind) described below….
Taken from Additional Project Information and Exhibits of USACE public notice