Haena State Park Master Plan

SOURCE: Lyn McNut (zensea1@gmail.com)
SUBHEAD: Review and comments on the Hawaii DLNR draft of Environmental Impact Statement.

[IB Publisher's note: See below for copy of DEIS and invitation for you to make comments on Haena State Park Master Plan. Incidentally, the PDF file is over 1,000 pages. Kind of like Obama's health plan - too long for anybody to actually read.]

By Don Heacock on 4 August 2015 for HI Div. of Aquatic Resources

Image above: Aerial photo of Haena State Park area with Kee Beach at right. From (http://liveinhawaiinow.com/haena-state-park/).

General Comments:
The Plan is well written, documented and referenced. The DAR should fully support the Community-Based Management (CBM) approach, and their goals, objectives and recommendations within the Plan. Increased CBM of natural and cultural resources within the Park, and the proposed significant (50%) decrease in visitor daily traffic, and use of facilities and natural resources, will be an essential step in the restoration of the Park’s ecological and cultural integrity.

The proposed addition of Educational and Cultural Center (ECC) facilities and uses will enhance community stewardship, build community capacity, and will therefore help towards the long-tern conservation and sustainable use of natural and cultural resources within the Park.

Generally, all proposed facilities, and where possible existing facilities, should be designed or modified to minimize impervious surfaces, and maximize storm water infiltration. Ideally, the existing hydrological and hydraulic conditions within the Park should be kept in as natural condition as is possible to protect quality of receiving waters, to prevent soil erosion and to promote infiltration to groundwater.

Based upon direct observations, and discussion with Surfrider Foundation, the existing wastewater facility, composed of septic system, constructed wetland and leach field is under designed (too small) and the constructed wetland in inadequately planted with high nutrient removing plants to meet the huge public demands on the system.

Although reducing the total vehicular traffic to 900 cars per day will certainly help the IWS function better. Without enhancement of the existing IWS (e.g., increase numbers and species of wetland plants, increasing size of constructed wetland, etc.) the system will not function properly and nutrient enrichment of the groundwater and nearshore marine environment  (Class AA waters) will continue.

Specific Comments:
Page 2-3, first goal should read, “Recognize that the entire Park is ecologically and culturally significant.”

P.2-28, in order to minimize the impacts of microhydropower systems on native Hawaii amphidromous biota, the diversion intakes must be designed to have low-velocity intakes placed subsurface in relatively deep pool in the center of the stream in order to minimize entrainment of larval or post-larval stream animals.

Section, under “Artificial light”, add to the last bullet:
“…during the seabird fledgling season September to December, and during the sea turtle hatching period July to September, and    yellow lighting invisible to honu should be used near the shoreline.

P. 3-34, Potential Impacts to Soils and Mitigation: amend this section to include perhaps the most important Best Management Practice (BMP) with is to “allow all large-scale grading, grubbing and stockpiling of soil only during the summer months (i.e., May 1 thru October 31).

P. 3-46, Table 7: Registered Diversions from Limahuli River:
A water budget study needs to be done to provide baseline data on:
the total amount of water diverted from each of the six water users:
document what purpose is the water being diverted (e.g., irrigation of taro, domestic uses, etc.).

Additionally, microhydropower should only be integrated with, and ancillary to, taro lo’i production, since taro lo’i are recognized as a “Public Trust Beneficial Use”, therefore they have appurtenant water rights, but hydropower is only recognized as a “beneficial use” without having appurtenant water rights.

P. 3-47, Mitigation measures under consideration should also include  the parking lot being surfaced with gravel or other pervious pavements to minimize impacts to the existing hydrological and hydraulic conditions, thereby minimizing stormwater runoff and soil erosion.

Section 3.5, Wetlands. Wetlands have great potential for integration with existing Individual Wastewater Systems (IWSs), particularly with integrated “ecological wastewater aquaculture systems”, using aquatic plants as biofilters that remove nutrients and dissolved solids. Such a system, appropriately designed could significantly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of wastewater treatment, removal and recovery of nutrients, protection of groundwater and nearshore marine quality, and the recovery of high quality R-1 water for reuse.

P. 3-48, The existing comfort station/IWS is currently not functioning properly and nutrients and bacteria are being discharges from the leach field and entering both the groundwater and nearshore marine waters (pers. Observation; pers. comm. with Dr. Carl Berg, Surfrider Foundation).  In particular, the constructed wetland is missing most of its plants and cannot adequately remove nutrients.

P. 3-57, The Plan states that, “one management strategy is “to protect the long-term sustainability of the Park’s nearshore marine resources”; this is a goal statement, not a strategy; the strategic plan would sit objectives, timelines, identify person responsible and give details about how and when the goal would be reached.

Additionally, long-term resources monitoring should include: fish catch and effort data, species composition of catch, size (length) of fish caught, number caught, and gear and methods used.

P. 3-59, second to last para., Kido’s estimated 48, 00 m tonnes of plant liter being processed with Limahuli River ecosystem and being exported as organic nutrients into the ocean during floods.” This phenomenon strongly supports the need to restore traditional lo’i kalo within the watershed  to help function, as “constructed wetlands” and as the “kidneys of the watershed”, where the lo’i trap and recycle organic matter and nutrients, improving the productivity of the taro, and also keeping these nutrients out of the oligotrophic reef ecosystem.

P. 4-29, Water.  Again, a detailed water budget should be done to quantify total water being diverted from each of the 6 water users, and the diversion structures documented as to type, placement within steam, and intakevelocities to assure minimal impacts on migratory native larvae and post-larvae.

P. 4-30, Under Potential Impacts and Mitigation and additional method of water conservation within the Park not mentioned is to design and implement a “grey water system” that directs all potable water used for showers and sinks in facilities, both existing and proposed, to drain through subsurface perforated irrigation pipes to irrigate gardens, taro lo’i  and or dryland taro patches,  and finally to recharge groundwater; ideally environmentally safe soaps, which contain excellent plant nutrients like Oasis soaps, should be used within the Park. Greywater systems integrated into the Park’s facilities would reduce the amount of water diverted from Limahuli River that is now used for these purposes.

P. 4-31, third para., Wastewater.  Again, the existing IWS, with its septic tank, constructed wetland and leach field appears to be malfunctioning because excess nitrogen, nutrients and bacteria are being discharged into the ground water and into nearshore marine waters (pers. comm. Dr. Carl Berg, Surfrider Found.).  The cause of this malfunction appears to be lack of adequate wetland plants in the constructed wetland (about 80% are missing, pers. observ.).

P. 4-34, last para., Best Management Practices (BMPs) listed should include that all major grading, grubbing and stockpiling of soil can be done only during summer (May 1 through October 31) months to reduce severe soil erosion that can occur during large winter storms.

P. 7-4,  Because the construction of the proposed new facilities will require the irreversible and irretrievable commitment of natural resources, all grading, grubbing and stock-piling of soil should be done only during summer months to minimize impacts to stream and nearby coral reef ecosystems.

Also, it is important to understand that hydropower, depending upon the design and placement of the intake structure, and on the amount of water diverted from the stream,  can have significant negative effects (e.g., entrainment and impingement and associated mortality, loss of habitat, decreased water quality) on migratory fishes,  for example our native Hawaiian amphidromous stream fauna made up of goby fishes (‘o’opu), prawns or shrimp (‘opae) and snails (hihiwai and hapawai).

Appendix A, Section E. Wastewater System. It is unclear how placing the IWS absorption bed under the parking lot (which should be covered with gravel or pervious pavement to allow infiltration and minimize stormwater runoff and soil erosion) will provide separation of  IWS effluent from groundwater; this needs to be clarified.

Because if, as an alternative, a properly designed and sized IWS with a larger than existing constructed wetland that would treat wastewater to R-1 classification, then the R-1 water could be reused for many purposes within the Park.


Donald E. Heacock, Kauai District Aquatic Biologist

Invitation for Comments on Haena Plan

 By Deborah L. Ward on 24 July 2015 for Dept. of Land & Natural Resources

After several years of research, community meetings, and previous attempts to develop a master plan for the park, the Division of State Parks of the Department of Land and Natural Resources has completed a master plan and draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Ha‘ena State Park.

Together with a 32-member community advisory committee, a team of consultants, State Parks and its contractor PBR HAWAII, refined a previous version of the master plan drafted in 2001 with a renewed emphasis on the cultural and historical significance of Ha‘ena as well as solutions to the natural hazards, traffic and parking congestion.

The DEIS was published in today's edition of the OEQC bulletin for a 45 day public review and comment period which ends on Sept. 8, 2015.  The document can be found through OEQC's website at (http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/Environmental_Notice/Archives/2010s/2015-07-23.pdf), or directly at (http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/Environmental_Notice/Archives/2010s/2015-07-23.pdf). It is a 1,021 page PDF file.

One recommendation in the revised master plan is to limit the number of people who enter the park to 900 a day. This suggestion came out of a number of meetings with the master plan advisory committee, a 32-member committee that was formed to help develop the plan.  

That number includes hikers on the Kalalau Trail, but not overnight campers with valid permits, and may be adjusted over time.  The plan envisions an educational and cultural center which will become the point of entry.  An interpretive path will provide access to Kee Beach along an elevated boardwalk and located makai of the current highway and is designed to take people out of a rockfall hazard zone.

Haena, the storied place at the far northwestern corner of Kauai’s North Shore, is also home to one of the State of Hawaii’s busiest state parks, Haena State Park. Roughly 65.7 acres in area, the park contains significant cultural and ecological resources, as well as the trailhead to Kalalau Trail and the Napali Coast State Wilderness Park. Its beaches, sheltered lagoon, and scenic resources make it a popular visitor destination.

A recent rockfall hazard study identified a high-risk area along the highway which is the main visitor corridor to Kee Beach. This mix of resources and the potential conflicts and safety hazards give rise to the need to develop a conscientious and comprehensive master plan in order to balance conservation, recreation, cultural integrity, and public safety.

For more information on the master plan, contact the Division of State Parks at (808) 587-0293 or PBR Hawaii at (808) 521-5631.

Comments on the draft EIS should be sent by the September 8th 2015 deadline to: 

US Mail
Lauren Tanaka, Division of State Parks
1151 Punchbowl Street. Room 310
Honolulu HI 96813

or to planning consultant:

US Mail
Kimi Yuen, PBR Hawaii Associates
1001 Bishop Street Suite 650
Honolulu, HI 96813

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Haena Subsistence Fishing 8/5/15


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