Feedback from Big Island Community Results in Status Quo
(HONOLULU) – The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and its Division of Boating and Recreation (DOBOR) announced today its decision to select the “no-action” option in a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Keauhou Bay Offshore Moorings project.
Considerable public interest and input during the review process of the potential for adding moorings in Keauhou Bay on the Kona side of Hawaii Island informed DLNR’s decision to no longer pursue additional moorings.
The proposal involved the replacement of nine (9) existing offshore moorings with up to sixteen (16) new offshore moorings. After receiving feedback at community meetings, DLNR/DOBOR concluded that adding more moorings in the bay would not provide sufficient community benefit.
“After hearing from many people about this proposal as well as personal site visits by DLNR and DOBOR leadership to review the situation, I am confident that it is in the best interest of all users of Keauhou Bay that we not add additional moorings” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.
While the Draft EA found that there would be no significant environmental impacts from the project or any of its proposed alternatives, DLNR decided not to pursue the project due to community concerns over public safety and congestion. These included added user traffic in the bay; impacts to cultural practices such as outrigger canoe paddling and traditional subsistence fishing; and the overall cost of the project to state taxpayers.
Charged with oversight of small boat harbors across the state, DOBOR has the responsibility of seeking to enhance existing public boating access areas, as well as establish new facilities when deemed feasible.
“We thank people for their continued engagement with this proposed project over the years. While we have decided not to pursue additional moorings, we still need to be sure that the existing moorings are compliant with all regulations. We will work with the mooring permit holders to be sure this is done” said Ed Underwood, DOBOR Administrator.
DOBOR will file the “no-action” option outlined in the Draft EA with the Hawaii Office of Environmental Quality Control this week.
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Senior Communications Manager