(BIVN) – A state-of-the-art Marine Science Center is being planned for West Hawaiʻi at Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor South, and a draft environmental assessment for the project has been published.
The non-profit Jupiter Research Foundation is planning an expansion “to accommodate increased basic research in the broad areas of Marine Science, Oceanic Environment, Communications, and Electro-Biology,” the EA document states. “Operations in both Hawai‘i and California will be affected. For Hawai‘i this expansion will require a new facility.”
The Jupiter Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Operating Foundation formed in 2003, “in part as a way to stream the humpback whale song in high quality live to the worldwide public from Jupiter’s website while the humpbacks are off Puakō, Hawai‘i during their winter breeding season,” documents say. Hoʻokuleana LLC is the consultant on the environmental assessment.
The Foundation plans to construct “an office building, with a conference room, a small kitchen, restrooms, a machine/electronics workshop, a storage area, and an attached garage for its research vessel, the May Maru. Jupiter will install fencing, landscaping, and the necessary underground utility extensions.”
The main building would be approximately 14,000-square feet, the EA says. The attached boat garage would be approximately 2,400-square feet.
“Jupiter’s ongoing research focus is on global warming and climate change as well as on dissolved plastics in the ocean – which may be entering our food chain,” the document explains. “These studies will have direct relevance to Hawai’i’s very fragile ecosystem as well as to the global environment.”
“As a non-profit, non-commercial scientific research organization, while the work they do is intended to benefit the public, the facility will not act as a ‘visiting center’ nor will they engage in any product sales, commercial activities or advertisement,” the document states.
The project already has lots of support from local elected officials, the Kawaihae-area business community, the board of directors of the Pua Kaʻilima ʻO Kawaihae Cultural Surf Park, the Nature Conservancy, and Pwo Navigator Chadd Paishon of Na Kalai Waʻa.
The statutory 30-day public review and comment for the EA is underway. Comments are due by April 22, 2018.