Plans to Dredge Kalaupapa Halted

A plan to dredge the harbor at Kalaupapa and build a in-water structure to enhance barge maneuverability has been nixed, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

The construction was proposed last year to increase accessibility for the barge that brings supplies to the isolated peninsula once a year. Dredging would have allowed larger barges to service the peninsula. But after public testimony and outside agency consultation, the project was cancelled because of possible environmental affects, especially to endangered species in the area such as the Hawaiian monk seal.

“Based on all the feedback and consultation, we determined the impact associated with [the improvements] outweighed the benefits,” said Steve Prokop, NPS Kalaupapa Superintendent.

Only repairs to the existing breakwater structure and pier are now being proposed, Prokop said.

At this time, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was necessary for the larger-scale construction has been terminated. The public and consultant feedback were part of the EIS process. An Environmental Assessment (EA) – a shorter version for projects of lesser environmental impact – is now being prepared, according to an NPS press release.

The proposed project will cost about $5 million in federal funds specifically set aside for repair and rehabilitation of NPS structures, Prokop said.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2012.

Prokop said he is taking public comment on the project by phone. He can be reached at 808-567-6802, x1100.

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