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Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan - Agency Informational Briefing, August 7, 2015


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A briefing held for Kauai departmental representatives on August 7, 2015 at the Moikeha Conference Room 2 A/B on the Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan

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Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan - Agency Informational Briefing, August 7, 2015

  1. 1. Pacific Guardian Center │ 733 Bishop Street, Makai Tower Suite 2590 │ Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813 Date: August 7, 2015 Time: 9:30-11:00 AM Project Name: Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan Location: Moikeha Conference Room 2 A/B Recorded by: Corlyn Orr Reviewed by attendees: 9/8/15 Attendees: see attendance record Subject: Agency Informational Briefing Following introductions and a project briefing given by Scott Ezer, agency representatives were asked to give input on specific topics of concern. The main points of the group discussion is summarized below. AGENCY JURISDICTION / APPLICABLE RULES AND REGULATIONS Kaua‘i Fire Department (KFD) provides ocean safety (lifeguard) services at county beach parks.  There is currently no lifeguard stationed at Black Pot, so lifeguards at Pavilions use ATVs to respond to Black Pot. Consideration is being given to adding a single-person lifeguard tower in the future (location remains undetermined, could be on either side of the pier).  Ocean safety launches jet skis at Pavilions. When surf is high, jet skis launch at the river or Kē‘ē.  KFD launches their zodiac boat at the point next to the river mouth because the boat ramp is not operational. Access to the boat ramp is critical for emergency response; dredging of the river mouth is needed for boat access.  Ambulances respond/stage in front of the pier. DLNR has jurisdiction of the river and the ocean waters from the shoreline extending three miles out (essentially all the waters of the bay and river). County has no authority over water bodies.  Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) is responsible for enforcement.  Division of Boating and Recreation (DOBOR) is responsible for administering programs, managing facilities and issuing permits that allow safe access for all users. NOAA and the State of Hawai‘i (through DLNR) jointly manage the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (NMS).  NOAA Humpback Whale NMS responsibilities include responding to marine mammal strandings and sightings in the bay, coordinating volunteers, and supporting community-based disaster resilience planning and educational initiatives (e.g., food fish lifecycles, tide and moon calendars).  Sanctuary boundaries extend from the shoreline to depths of 600 feet, and includes Hanalei Bay.  Humpback Whale NMS Management Plan currently under revision. Draft proposes to expand current boundary from the mouth of the river up to FWS estuary boundary. US Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) Ecological Branch is responsible for terrestrial wildlife resources. USFWS Fisheries is responsible for marine resources.  USFWS National Wildlife Refuse base yard is located across the Hanalei River bridge on the makai side of the highway.  USFWS would like to see educational signage at Black Pot to protect endangered species found in the area (e.g., turtles, seabirds, monk seals, other marine mammals). MEETING SUMMARY
  2. 2. Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan Agency Informational Briefing | August 7, 2015 Page 2 of 4 County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) regulates and permits surf schools and commercial activities in the park, and provides maintenance for park facilities. County Department of Public Works (DPW) pumps and maintains the comfort station septic system. COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES  Commercial boaters and surf school operators are permitted through a dual permit system between DLNR and DPR.  DLNR Boating rules are available on DOBOR’s website. The rules contain specifications for where boats (both commercial and recreation) can and cannot launch; loading/unloading is only allowed at the sandspit. Rules do not pertain to emergency or law enforcement entities; they are given flexibility to launch according to the situation.  Eight surf schools are currently licensed by the County. DRIVING AND PARKING ON THE BEACH  DLNR Land Division rules (HAR Section 13-2-21) prohibit driving on the beach on State unencumbered land. State law supersedes county law, except this rule does not apply to Black Pot because the beach is county-owned (State transferred beach to the County via Executive Order). Black Pot is the only county-owned beach on Kaua‘i.  DLNR has rules for Polihale that prohibit driving on the beach unless by special permit. Driving on the beach is only allowed on designated roadways, and the beach is not a designated roadway.  Kaua‘i County Prosecutor reviewed the County ordinance about driving on the beach several years ago at the request of DLNR DOCARE and Kaua‘i Police Department (re: enforcement issues at Kitchens Beach/Nukoli‘i). The Prosecutor’s Office concluded that the ordinance allowed driving on the beach to drop off equipment without having to remove vehicles from the beach; drivers were only in violation if they drove back and forth in a reckless manner.  From an ecological perspective, parking and driving on the beach can be harmful to monk seals and sea turtles resting on the beach.  Expectation to drive on the beach is culturally driven, but hazards associated with driving on the beach are increasing due to the growing population.  State controls the rectangular parcel that provides access to the pier; County has an easement from the State to access the beach. If this parcel were given by E.O. to the county, the State would no longer be able to enforce activities at Black Pot. BOAT RAMP  Moving all parking off the beach requires a functional boat ramp and trailer parking. It is probable that a new boat ramp would be required in a new location to allow safe and adequate ocean access for boats. Accommodating boats and trailers was one reason that the County acquired the additional land.  Designating a gated/locked access lane along the beach strictly for authorized boaters and emergency personnel may not be feasible because the beach changes and moves with seasonal surf conditions. Water safety and emergency personnel should be given flexibility to exercise their best judgment when launching boats and jet skis.  There were more than 40 commercial tours operating out of Hanalei in the 1980s. Because the State is obligated to provide access for commercial boating activity that they permit, DLNR proposed to acquire the Sheehan boatyard property to move commercial activity off the county park (including boat launch, loading/unloading and parking). However, DLNR cannot acquire fast lands, so the County would have to acquire the land and then E.O. it to the State.
  3. 3. Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan Agency Informational Briefing | August 7, 2015 Page 3 of 4  Boat ramp facilities are not typically a county function. DOBOR managed the boat ramp in the 1970s-1990s, and looked into providing a boating facility under the previous administration.  Clearing/opening up the river mouth is a priority for boat access (river mouth too shallow or narrow with changing surf). DLNR makes an exception at Hanalei in allowing boat loading/unloading at the beach because the river is not completely accessible.  DLNR would voluntarily maintain the river mouth if the boat ramp were State jurisdiction. The State contracts regular river mouth maintenance work around the island, which involves pushing sand away to allow the river to flow (e.g., Hanapēpē, Keālia, Waimea). Efforts to open up the Hanalei River were stopped by a community member concerned that the ecological changes of clearing the river mouth would alter the estuary and cause harm to fish life cycles.  Mayor recently expressed concern that the responsibility for clearing the river mouth is unclear, even though there is no documentation that the county was given jurisdiction for clearing. Such action is traditionally State responsibility. County would need State DOH approval and an Army Corps 404 permit before clearing. WASTEWATER  DPW will provide pumping records for Esaki Surveying engineering assessment.  Septic system serving the comfort station was upgraded two years ago to add a new leach field and double the system capacity. The current system, which consists of one tank and two leach fields, requires manually switching the tank pump between the two leach fields.  Obvious that the number of people that use the park has exceeded the capacity of the comfort station. Large events overwhelm the existing system, but bathroom closures are more than half the time related to plugged toilets (e.g., papers, coconut husks, clothing, etc.), not because of a lack of system capacity.  Two DPR caretakers are on site-daily, but they roam between Hā‘ena and Hanalei. DPW and DPR are working out inter-agency protocols to monitor tank capacity and switching/pumping demands. DPW does not have staff on-site daily, and would like DPR caretakers to learn how to monitor/take daily tank readings and then notify DPW when levels are high.  Installing a sonic meter or float switch to measure effluent level may be possible; this would eliminate the need for DPR staff to take manual readings.  Upgrading to a small wastewater treatment plant designed with capacity to accommodate special events may be the ideal solution for Black Pot. The optimal scenario would be to connect Pavilions and Black Pot. WATER  DPW has responsibility for water lines from the water meters into the property. Records show four water meters in the planning area: (1) existing park; (2) canoe club; (3) Sheehan boat washdown; and (4) Hodge property.  Location of existing waterlines that run from the water meters is not clear. Esaki Surveying will be looking into water meter usage records. SITE FOR NOAA HUMPBACK WHALE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY OCEAN DISCOVERY CENTER Mike Sheehan recently offered NOAA the boatyard property as a future site for an Ocean Discovery Center. NOAA would prefer a central location (e.g., Līhu‘e or Kapa‘a site) that is accessible to most students of the island. NOAA is also concerned about the potential for the ODC to attract too many people to the site.
  4. 4. Black Pot Beach Park Master Plan Agency Informational Briefing | August 7, 2015 Page 4 of 4 PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION  County Office of Economic Development is working on developing a shuttle program between Ha‘ena and Princeville. Two properties in Hā‘ena and Princeville have been identified for park- and-ride facilities. Ideally, the County would like all North Shore visitors to ride the shuttle.  Shuttle service will be an attractive alternative when the Haʽena State Park Master Plan is implemented and parking is limited to 100 cars per day.  The County’s 6-month pilot program resulted in 9,000 riders, with more than half the ridership coming from local residents in need of transportation. The pilot program used 15-passenger vans operating from 6 am—9 pm, with hourly runs between Princeville and Hanalei (two shuttles ran in loops from Hanalei—Kē‘ē Beach and from Princeville—Hanalei). A one-way ride cost $4 per visitor, $2 per resident. Program costs = $200,000; revenues = $60,000.  The site for the Princeville park-and-ride facility is located across the highway from the entry to Princeville. The property was formerly the Princeville Nursery, and is currently owned by Jim Fields. The park-and-ride will be co-located with a new scenic lookout and visitors center for the USFWS National Wildlife Refuge.  NOAA Humpback Whale NMS would be interested in options for educational outreach opportunities at the future USFWS visitors center. ATTENDANCE RECORD 1. Adam Greisemer, US FWS Endangered Species Biologist 2. Bully Mission, DLNR DOCARE, Branch Chief 3. Joe Borden, DLNR DOBOR, Kaua‘i Boating Manager 4. Jean Souza, NOAA HIHWNMS, Kaua‘i Programs Coordinator 5. Keith Suga, Kaua‘i County CIP Manager 6. Robert Westerman, Kaua‘i Fire Department, Fire Chief 7. Albert Kaui, Kaua‘i Fire Department, Battalion Chief 8. Ian Costa, Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Deputy Director 9. George Costa, Office of Economic Development, Director 10. Paul Kaihara, Dept. of Public Works Building Division, Construction Manager 11. Larry Dill, Dept. of Public Works, Chief Engineer 12. Scott Ezer, HHF Planners 13. Corlyn Orr, HHF Planners