Board Talk

posted in: Board Talk, February 2002 | 0

Sugar Cove Quibbles Over Quality of Sand

Sugar Cove’s efforts to protect the shoreline should be commended, Land Division planner Sam Lemmo told the Board of Land and Natural Resources at its January 11 meeting.
But their approach needs some work.

For years, the Sugar Cove Association of Apartment Owners on Maui has taken it upon itself to nourish its erosion-prone beach with sand excavated from a quarry on the island. While the DLNR supports beach nourishment, it has strict procedures about activities undertaken in the Conservation District, which includes the tidal portion of the beach fronting Sugar Cove. So when the association proceeded with its annual nourishment without a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) last year, the Land Board fined it $2,000 at its September 2001 meeting.

On January 11, the Land Board entertained a recommendation from its staff to approve a CDUP for beach nourishment at Sugar Cove for five years.

Barbara Guild, a representative of the Sugar Cove owners’ association, urged the Land Board to approve the permit, with the exception of two conditions staff had included: first, that the association use material classified as “sand,” and second, that the association have a third party monitor the project to assure the sand’s quality.

The Sugar Cove association plans to use, and has used in past nourishments, a type of fill called select overburden. Select overburden is what lies between the layer of soil that sits atop a sand deposit and the core of true “sand” beneath. It is usually sand mixed with varying amounts of organic material.

Because of the natural variation in overburden, the Land Division staff argued it should not be used. A staff report prepared by Lemmo states, “Given variations in the quality noticed by DLNR staff at the site between truckloads in 2001, there is some discrepancy between the submitted gradient for the overburden, and the actual material that has been used in previous nourishmentsÉStaff would prefer sand from below the overburden layer be used for this project. This would alleviate staff concerns about the fill material being of consistent quality.”

Guild disagreed and showed the Land Board pictures of a nice beach taken after a recent nourishment with overburden. What’s more, she argued, the sand the Land Division was requiring was too fine, more suitable for concrete than for keeping Sugar Cove’s beach intact. Her beach, she said, gets pounded by heavy waves every year.

“Our sand is coarser, it will last longer, it would offer more protection, and would not need to be replenished as much,” she told the Land Board. “Therefore, in the long run, we would have to replenish less often, with less environmental impactÉ I fear if you make us use the É sand, it will wash away really quickly.”

Maui Land Board member Ted Yamamura told Guild, “I think the issue here is not only the size of the sand, fine or coarse, but the quality of sand and there may be unacceptable amounts of overburden, which would lead to turbidity.”

Lemmo acknowledged that he had not personally examined the quarry where Sugar Cove was getting its fill or the material itself, and volunteered to go to Maui and visit the quarry to settle the debate.

With regard to the condition requiring a third party monitor, Guild suggested that a professional was unnecessary and that the work could be done by students with the University of Hawai`i’s Marine Option Program.

Trusting Lemmo’s experience with beach projects, the Land Board approved the CDUP as staff has proposed, with the condition that Lemmo visit the quarry within the next month or so.

* * *
Wa`ahila Project Receives Seventh Time Extension

At the request of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., the Land Board extended its deadline to decide whether it will allow the utility to string a 138-kV transmission line and erect gigantic telephone poles through the nearly 200,000 square feet of state Conservation District land on Wa`ahila Ridge mauka of Manoa Valley in O`ahu.

The decision gives the Land Board until its first meeting in July to vote on HECO’s Conservation District Use Permit for the project.

The extension was requested to allow for the completion of a contested case hearing on the issue, in which the Outdoor Circle, Malama O Manoa, and Life of the Land oppose the project. The DLNR has completed the hearing, but was awaiting proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and a Decision and Order from hearing officer John McConnell.

While those items were to be submitted by the end of last month, more time was needed to allow parties to file exceptions and give oral arguments.

HECO had asked for a 90-day extension, but the Land Board, believing that more time was needed for to conclude all aspects of the contested case, instead granted an extension for 150 days.

Life of the Land’s Executive Director offered this in this written testimony supporting the extension” “Let the record reflect that on April 11, 1975, the BLNR Board approved building a 138-kV transmission line between Pukele and Kamoku Substations. Later that year, BLNR declared the approval ‘null and void.’ Here we are 1388 weeks later, we are on the third CDUA, the fourth EIS, and we are supporting the seventh extension.”

In a humorous side matter, Curtis told the board, “Four of five of these big ugly poles that are being proposed have been named after one BLNR board member by Hawaiian Electric. We regret that Lynn McCrory has the honor of thatÉ We think that was inappropriate, but Hawaiian Electric chose it.”

After she stopped laughing, McCrory said, “Well, I’m honored, I’m sureÉ Can I pick the color?”

* * *

Hearings to Address Ban on Shark Feeding

At its January 11 meeting, the Land Board approved a request by its Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) to conduct public hearings on a proposed rule to ban shark feeding.

DAR administrator Bill Devick told the board, “There are two operations that have begun this activity, and there is, in particular, one operation of the North Shore which has got some publicityÉ To my mind, it’s particularly hazardous because they’re sending people down in a hog-wire cageÉ [They] chum at various times, and the description of the behavior of the sharks is [they’re] rather docile, almost like a pet.

“At some point we are likely to see a fourteen-foot tiger shark come along and decide that what’s in the cage may be a better meal than what’s being fed outside the cage,” Devick said.

The proposed rule to ban shark feeding is intended to “nip this kind of activity in the bud,” avoid shark bites and the training of sharks to associate to the presence of people with food, Devick said. The last shark bite incident here, a relatively minor one on Maui, received national attention, he continued. Shark feeding here is “a risk that we don’t need to encourage.”

A DAR representative added that chumming to attract sharks leads to “all sorts of altered behavior,” and added that California is looking at banning shark feeding, where great white sharks are a concern, and has already done so in marine sanctuaries. Florida has banned shark feeding to avoid interaction with nurse sharks, a relatively harmless species.

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East Kaua`i Co-op To Run Irrigation System

As was first done for the sugar irrigation system in Kekaha on Kaua`i’s west side, the Land Board granted on January 11 a permit to a cooperative of users — the East Kaua`i Users Cooperative this time — to run portions of the Lihu`e irrigation system. The permit will be rent-free for the first six months and is an attempt to keep the system alive after its current manager, AMFAC/Lihu`e Plantation, leaves in the next few months.

In granting the permit, the Land Board also gave “conceptual approval” to the DAR and the Division of Forestry and Wildlife to create and operate a public fishing area at the Wailua reservoir.

A staff report by Kaua`i Land Agent Mike Laureta states, “The Wailua Reservoir is the third jewel in the Division of Aquatic Resources efforts to expand the public fishing opportunities on Kaua`i. An area was provided in Hanapepe for hatchery purposes, and area was provided in Kalepa for growout ponds, and this site is an addition to the public fishing areas. A partnership was developed with DOFAW to combine elements for a wildlife sanctuary also. DAR and DOFAW have had many meetings in resolving the issues involved for multi-use of this resource…

“A request for some type of disposition such as Governor’s Executive Order, lease or memorandum of understanding will be developed and submitted to the Board under separate action at a later date.”

— Teresa Dawson

Volume 12, Number 8 February 2002