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EIS process begins for Kaanapali Beach sand restoration project

By Staff | Aug 2, 2018

KAANAPALI – The Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notification (EISPN) for the proposed Kaanapali Beach Restoration and Berm Enhancement project was published in the July 23 Bulletin of the Hawaii Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) along with a link to the accompanying 78-plus-page report (oeqc2.doh.hawaii.gov/The_Environmental_Notice/2018-07-23-TEN.pdf).

The Executive Summary for the estimated $9,275,000 project partially reads: “K?’anapali Beach has been negatively impacted by chronic erosion and extreme seasonal erosion over the previous four decades. The cumulative effect on the shoreline, the beach resource, and the sandy nearshore ecosystem has been negative. The State of Hawaii and the K?’anapali Operators Association (KOA) have developed a plan to ensure the long-term viability of this sandy coastal resource that includes both beach restoration and berm enhancement.

“Beach restoration is proposed for the section of beach between Hanaka’?’? Beach Park and Hanaka’?’? Point (‘Hanaka’?’? Littoral Cell’), and beach berm enhancement is proposed for the section of beach between Hanaka’?’? Point and Pu’u Keka’a (‘K?’anapali Littoral Cell’).”

Since 2006, KOA has been assessing the different mitigation methodologies with consultants Sea Engineering Inc.

Wayne Hedani, president of KOA, explained that preliminary work “to survey offshore areas for potential sand sources was successful in finding two sources of beach quality sand offshore.”

“Beach restoration,” Hedani observed, “is the County of Maui’s preferred alternative to shoreline hardening to address beach erosion, which will be getting more serious in the future with anticipated sea level rise of up to three feet by the end of the century.”

“The project,” Hedani advised, “will entail moving sand from offshore sources onto the beach to reestablish shorelines as they existed in 1988 in the Hanaka’?’? sand cell (from Hanaka’?’? Beach Park through the Marriott) and to supplement beach berms in the K?’anapali sand cell (from the K?’anapali Alii to Black Rock at the Sheraton).”

The logistics are detailed in the EISPN: “The approximately 75,000 cubic yards of sand needed for the proposed beach restoration and berm enhancement project would be recovered from an 8.5-acre sand deposit, located approximately 150 feet offshore of Pu’u Keka’a in 28 to 56 feet water depth.”

Construction would commence only after the multiple permits and approvals have been granted from the various county, state and federal agencies.

Moreover, the permitting/approval process does not begin until after EIS protocol has been met.

The requirement for an EIS is triggered when there is work within the State Conservation District.

It is basically a lengthy three-step process.

The EISPN is the first step leading to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The process is complex, and OEQC Spokesman Tom Eisen helped to clarify procedures for Lahaina News readers.

With the EISPN published in the July 23 edition of the OEQC Bulletin, the public is given 30 days to comment, Eisen explained.

“This is just to help the authorities determine what the EIS should be studying,” he added.

“Every comment that comes in needs a response,” Eisen advised.

“A typical response to a comment that comes in on the Preparation Notice is: ‘Thanks for bringing that to our attention; we’ll look into it and address it in the Draft EIS (DEIS).’ “

In the DEIS, all of the correspondence will be compiled in a separate section, and it will be sent to the OEQC for publication. This initiates a 45-day comment period. Any comments generated during that period require a response as well and inclusion in the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Once finalized, the EIS is sent to the OEQC for publication “to let the public know it is available,” Eisen said.

“There is no comment period on the final EIS, but it does have to be formally accepted by the governor,” Eisen continued.

“The governor or staff does an analysis to make sure that it has met the requirements of the law,” Eisen explained.

“If they determine that it has met all the requirements of the law, then it is formally accepted, and the OEQC publishes notice of that acceptance.”

“The EIS is a disclosure document. It’s just presenting a lot of information, so that the decision-makers have this theoretically objective and vetted body of information about this specific project; it helps guide them in making their decisions,” Eisen concluded.

Then the permitting process begins.

“There are 16 permits which need to be secured,” Hedani qualified. “It’s in the SMA (Special Management Area) area, so hearings will need to take place before the (Maui) Planning Commission. There will also be community outreach hearings is my guess.”

The project approving authority is the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. The point person is Sam Lemmo. He can be reached by telephone at (808) 587-0377 or by e-mail at sam.j.lemmo@hawaii.gov.

The consultant is Sea Engineering Inc. Their lead is Chris Conger. Comments can be e-mailed to Conger at cconger@seaengineering.com.

The deadline to comment on phase one is Aug. 22.