(BIVN) -The Hawaiʻi County Council on Wednesday voted to pass a resolution urging state and federal officials to fund the restoration of the Pohoiki Boat Ramp, which has been buried in sand since the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea.
From Resolution 91-23, introduced by Councilmember Ashley Kierkiewicz:
A RESOLUTION STRONGLY URGING THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY AND THE HAWAVI STATE LEGISLATURE TO ALLOCATE SUFFICIENT FUNDING TO RESTORE THE POHOIKI BOAT RAMP IN PUNA.
WHEREAS, the 2018 Kilauea volcanic eruption rendered Pohoiki Boat Ramp, the only boat launching facility in the region of Puna, inaccessible and unusable; and
WHEREAS, prior to being buried under volcanic debris consisting of sand, rock, and cobble, Pohoiki Boat Ramp provided ocean access for Puna lawaiʻa (fishermen), and was a source of livelihood, playing a significant role in food security and sustainability, and as a major economic driver; and
WHEREAS, 2023 marks the 5th anniversary of the Kilauea volcanic eruption and the Pohoiki Boat Ramp remains intact but inoperable, requiring Puna lawaiʻa to launch their boats at ramps in Hilo and Kaʻu in order to access fishing grounds off of Pohoiki Bay; and
WHEREAS, the Pohoiki Boat Ramp is under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Land & Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DLNR-DOBOR), which in July 2020 engaged The Limtiaco Consulting Group to prepare an environmental assessment to plan for reestablishing this critical ocean access facility to its pre-eruption status; and
WHEREAS, per Reso. 218- 19, DLNR-DOBOR and Limtiaco consulted and worked closely with Puna lawaiʻa, individuals with direct familial and cultural ties to Puna, and the County of Hawaiʻi to coordinate planning and outreach related to solutions for restoring Pohoiki Boat Ramp; and
WHEREAS, Limtiaco is recommending a complete dredge of the accumulated volcanic debris in Pohoiki Bay to restore the bay to its pre-eruption shape and depth, which is estimated to cost approximately $40 million; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is committed to helping the Puna community recover by restoring this critical infrastructure and is capable of providing up to 75% of the total cost of disaster recovery projects; and
WHEREAS, restoring the Pohoiki Boat Ramp is vital to the social, economic, and cultural well-being and vibrancy of the Puna and Hawaii Island community; now, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OFT E COUNTY OF HAWAIʻI that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Hawaii State Legislature are strongly urged to allocate funding in their Fiscal Year 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 budgets to complete all activities necessary to restore the Pohoiki Boat Ramp.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all stakeholders and agencies involved in Pohoiki Boat Ramp restoration continue to prioritize this work and expedite planning and permitting in order to accelerate reestablishing boater access at Pohoiki Bay.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the County Clerk shall transmit a copy of this resolution to the Honorable Brian Schatz, United States Senator; the Honorable Mazie Hirono, United States Senator; the Honorable Jill Tokuda, United States Representative; Deanne Criswell, FEMA Administrator; Erik Hooks, FEMA Deputy Administrator; Robert Fenton, Jr., FEMA Region 9 Administrator; Tammy Littrell, FEMA Region 9 Deputy Administrator; Elizabeth Minor, Director of Hawaii Long-Term Recovery Office within FEMA; the Honorable Dr. Josh Green, Governor of the State of Hawaii; the Honorable Members of the House and Senate of the Hawaii State Legislature; Dawn Chang, DLNR Chair; and Ed Underwood, DOBOR Administrator.