Dredging Project Sparks Environmental Controversy

Bob Clark
Bob Clark
James Dittmar
James Dittmar

HAWAII KAI (KHNL) - The Hawaii Kai Marina is calm today, but there's a controversy brewing just below the surface. Silt and mud runoff are collecting at the bottom. The Hawaii Kai Marina Association wants to use Rim Island II as a disposal site for future dredged materials. It has applied for permits.

"I would hope by the end of the November, we'll have met with Fish and Wildlife and get their okay on this. That's what I'm hoping for," said Bob Clark, Communications Chairperson for the marina association.

When the marina was developed decades ago, Rim Island I and II were set up as future sites for dredged materials.

The proposal by the marina board would set aside at least 6,000 square feet in the pond for the stilts.

Some say that's not enough.

"We don't feel what they're proposing is adequate," said James Dittmar, an environmental consultant. "We feel we should go to an EIS. This is what we're asking them to do."

An environmental impact statement would open up the proceedings to the public.

The marina association said it will go forward in getting permits to designate Rim Island II as a dredge site. Otherwise, finding a new location could be expensive.

"So it's an enormous cost. We estimate two and a half to three times the cost to do this," said Clark.

But Dittmar said the area should be treated as a wildlife sanctuary.

"The birds don't belong to the Hawaii Kai Marina Association. The birds belong to the people of Hawaii and the community of Hawaii Kai. This is a broader issue than a privileged marina," said Dittmar.

As the association moves forward to get permits, the fate of these endangered birds lies in human hands.