Waikoloa Development Co. is seeking a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to rebuild the Kuualii fishpond rock wall, dredge sand from the pond and restore the beach at Anaehoomalu Bay in South Kohala.
The rock wall and 4-acre pond were damaged by the March 11, 2011, tsunami generated by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake off the eastern coast of Japan.
Besides the rock wall damage, the tsunami displaced an estimated 9,000 cubic yards of sand from the beach area into the shallow waters of Anaehoomalu Bay through a 100-foot-wide gap left after the waves, according to the application.
Following the tsunami, the Corps authorized emergency repairs to stabilize the breach in the beach from further erosion while a permanent restoration plan was developed in November 2012, according to the application.
The currently proposed work would return the fishpond and beach area to its pre-tsunami condition.
Although only 220 linear feet in the middle area of the wall was damaged by the tsunami, Waikoloa Development Co. is looking to replace the entire 690 feet of rock wall that previously separated the pond from the bay to ensure stability throughout the rock wall into the future, according to the application.
Reconstruction work would involve complete demolition, excavation and temporary removal of the existing cemented rock wall, including all underlying foundation and sand, according to the application.
Reusable rock materials would be saved to use in the rock wall’s reconstruction; new materials will be used only as needed.
To protect the area’s aquatic system, there will be a variety of best management practices in place including, but not limited to, no stockpiling of materials in waters, requiring any fueling of vehicles or equipment to occur away from the water, and daily inspections of silt fences and rubbish removal, according to the application.
The applicant is also proposing to dredge approximately 800 cubic yards of sand from within the 3- to 4-foot-deep fishpond with the intention of disposing the dredged material onsite in an upland area above the high tide line, according to the application. No hydraulic or suction equipment will be used, but, an excavator with a bucket will work from the fishpond’s adjacent bank to dredge the pond. Turbidity barriers will be used.
The Kuualii fish pond is a “loko puuone” or sand dune pond separated from Anaehoomalu Bay by a rock wall, constructed by the resort in the 1980s, which was breached during the 2011 tsunami, according to the application. The rock wall was constructed to stop sand from filling the pond.
Because the proposed action would result in discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., it will likely require authorization by the Corps under the Clean Water Act.
In accordance with that act, the Corps will be unable to issue a permit for the work unless the state Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch provides certification or a waiver of certification for the project, according to the application.
The applicant already has certification that the activities comply with state Coastal Zoning Management Program requirements.
Waikoloa Development Co. will also work with the State Historic Preservation Division to ensure that portions of the Ala Loa Foot Trail are protected, if the trail falls within the affected parcel, according to the application.
The applicant must also obtain Special Management Area use permits from Hawaii County and a state Conservation Use permit.
No public hearing for the proposed permit has been slated, however, the application noted that any person may request in writing that a public hearing be held to consider the application.
Public comments are being sought that will be used in deciding whether to grant a permit as well as in the preparation of required environmental assessments and/or studies.
Comments can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can also be mailed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District, Bldg. 230, Attn: CEPOH-EC-R/J. Animazu, Fort Shafter, HI 96858-5440.
Both electronically and post mailed comments must include the applicant’s name, reference number: POH-2012-00271 and the commentator’s name and contact information.
The comment period expires July 7. To view the public notice and application, visit poh.usace.army.mil.