Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor improvements move forward

The state is moving forward with road and waterline system improvements at the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor in South Kohala.


The state is moving forward with road and waterline system improvements at the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor in South Kohala.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is looking to widen the existing coral access road to 24 feet, pave it and stripe it; make intersection improvements at the road’s terminus with Kawaihae Road; and install two new potable waterlines.

The state division anticipates a finding of no significant impact for the project it contends will positively affect the Kawaihae area. The division estimated the work at the south small boat harbor will cost $2.5 million and take approximately nine months to complete, according to the draft assessment.

“Current fishing and boating activities at the harbor will be supported and encouraged by the proposed improvements, while making the harbor more accessible to a greater portion of the Kawaihae boating and recreation community,” the draft Environmental Assessment released Monday reads. “Access to recreational facilities such as surf parks, beaches, diving and fishing spots will be enhanced with the implementation of this project through the provision of access road upgrades.”

The project, which comprises the second phase of improvements at the harbor following some $4.7 million in floating dock, ramp, mooring and berthing stall improvements that got underway this summer, was included in the 2003 Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor Master Plan. The plan is a means to satisfy the public and commercial need for a modern small boat harbor.

The 24-foot-wide roadway, which will consist of a 3-inch-think layer of asphalt concrete and 6-inch deep layer of aggregate base course, would more or less follow the existing alignment of the coral access road between the commercial harbor and facilities of the south small boat harbor. At the road’s intersection with Kawaihae Road, the state is looking to make improvements that include pavement curves for driver comfort and vehicular maneuverability, as well as mark the pavement with a standard double-yellow lines and white “stop” bars.

To accommodate surface drainage after paving, the state said it will construct the road with a slope to direct it toward the edges where 5-foot-wide earthen swales will convey the drainage to drywells, which will naturally remove soils and debris in runoff.

The two new potable water lines, one that will be 8 inches in diameter and the other 4 inches in diameter, will connect to a 12-inch water line located along Akoni Pule Highway. The lines will be buried and run parallel to the proposed roadway improvements. Placement of the lines would require the state to trench up to 4 feet deep.

The work will require the state secure a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit and develop a Site-Specific Construction Best Management Practice plan for storm water discharge during construction activities. Because the project will not result in discharge into navigable waters, it will not require a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 401 permit pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act.

The division will also complete an archaeological inventory survey at the request of the State Historic Preservation Division, which expressed concern that the prior fill process may have covered historic properties and burial sites. The cultural and historical resources survey will be released in conjunction with project’s final EA.

According to the assessment, no rare or threatened species use the project area as a critical habitat, though green sea turtles do feed in the harbor area, which will not be affected by the proposed work. The state also anticipates the project will not affect the population or critical habitats of the threatened Newell’s shearwater and Hawaiian petrel.

The small boat harbor entrance channel and west breakwater were completed in the 1950s, according to the assessment. In mid-1998, following an Environmental Impact Statement and reduction of the harbor’s scope from housing 300 boats to 90 boats because of social and economic concerns, an extension of the west breakwater with a revetted mole, and the construction of an east revetted mole with a connecting breakwater was completed. A master plan was subsequently completed in 2003 for the small boat harbor’s future.


The public has through Jan. 8 to comment on the draft assessment, which is available online at the state Department of Health’s Office Environmental Quality Control website oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov. To find the specific document, click on the EA_and_EIS_Online_Library folder, followed by the Hawaii folder, and lastly the 2010s folder.

Comments should be sent to the proposing agency, State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, Attn: Valerie Suzuki, 333 Queen St., Suite 300, Honolulu, HI 96813, and to the consultant, AECOM Inc., Attn: Diane Kodama, 1001 Bishop St., Suite 1600, Honolulu, HI 96813.