(BIVN) – The project to dredge volcanic debris at Pohoiki Boat Ramp, restoring access to the ocean for Puna boaters, appears twice in the November 23rd issue of The Environmental Notice. The first mention is a Conservation District Use Application submitted to the Department of Land and Natural Resources by the DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR). The other concerns a Coastal Zone Management federal consistency review to be undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
From the opening pages of the CDUA:
DOBOR’s existing boat ramp facility at Pohoiki Bay has been landlocked since the 2018 eruption of the Kīlauea Volcano… Molten lava that contacted the Pacific Ocean was chilled and shattered by surf. Wave action on the nearby and newly formed lava area created sand, rock and cobble that was transported by wave currents to Pohoiki Bay. Ocean rescue services, commercial fishing, ocean/volcano tours, recreational opportunities, and food sustainability practices of the Puna community are negatively affected by the closure of the concrete boat ramp facility, which is undamaged. The project will reestablish pre-eruption navigational access to the Pacific Ocean and return the existing Pohoiki Boat Ramp facility to productive use.
The CDUA notes that the Final Environmental Assessment for the Pohoiki Boat Ramp Dredging of Volcanic Debris “identified the preferred action as the restoration of Pohoiki Bay to its pre-eruption shape and depth.” However, due to limited funding, “the dredging effort was reduced to a wide channel” which means “Pohoiki Bay will not be dredged to its pre-eruption shape and depth, and more black sand beach at Pohoiki Bay will be retained.”
“The project as envisioned with a reduced scope is expected to allow the undamaged boat launch ramp to be utilized by fisherfolk and emergency rescue teams, which represents a return of pre-eruption functions.” The application says DOBOR’s proposed project “will not utilize funding that Hawaiʻi County receives for its projects” from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Loose sand, cobblestones, and boulders will be dredged from the boat ramp area, and would be placed at least 50 feet away from the ocean. “Most of the dredged volcanic material will be placed upon the jagged area of newly formed lava land to the east of DOBOR’s boat ramp facility and beyond the reach of tidal activity,” documents say.
Conservation District Use Applications end up going to the Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources for final approval. Comments and requests can be sent to:
- Department of Land and Natural Resources
Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands,
P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, HI, 96809.
The Pohoiki Boat Ramp is owned and maintained by DLNR-DOBOR. The 90-foot-long breakwater structure adjacent to the boat ramp is the responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
The dredging project is also under federal review “for consistency with the enforceable policies of the Hawaiʻi Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program,” The Environmental Notice announced.
Comments are due by December 7, 2023, and can be mailed to:
- The Office of Planning and Sustainable Development
Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
P.O. Box 2359, Honolulu, HI 96804December 7, 2023
Or email Debra.L.Mendes@hawaii.gov