Testimony from Richard Marland November 7, 1975 “Fishing has been a major part of the lifestyle of many of the people in the Wai’anae community. The Pōka’ī Bay breakwater is heavily used by young and old alike for shore fishing. Consideration should surely be given to the modification of the proposed breakwater to provide a reasonably safe walkway-fishing platform.”
To: Gov David Ige, Lt Governor Josh Green, Mayor Rick Blangiardi, BLNR: Suzanne Case, DOBOR: Edward R. Underwood, District Ad: Bruce Shwartz, EPA, Senator Maile Shimabukuro, City Council Tupola, Representative Gates, University of Hawai'i
Repair Pōka'ī Bay's dilapidated jetty wall and overall improve the water quality.
Repair Pōka'ī Bay's Jetty Wall and overall improve water quality.
This petition is to urge Governor David Ige, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, Mayor Rick Blangiardi, BLNR Chairperson: Suzanne Case, DOBOR Administrator: Edward R. Underwood, District Administrator: Bruce Shwartz, Senator Maile Shimabukuro, City Councilwoman Andria Tupola, Representative Cedric Gates, and the University of Hawai'i to repair the jetty wall so that the recreational fishermen and woman can safely utilize the wall that would also allow for the practice of native gatherings rights. To include the addition of a circulation device to improve the overall water quality making it safe for everyone and marine life.
In 1953 a 300-foot breakwater wall was constructed. The Territory owned it on Kaneilio Point; it fell short of the requested length of 1000 foot by boaters and the Wai'anae community due to an underfunded project of only $100,000.00 allocated. At the time, the Army Corps of Engineers had reservations that the breakwater would cause erosion of the beach. Plans were approved with only one specification: the Territory cleans out the harbor of sand pilings caused by the breakwater, clear indicators of the troubles we would face today.
These issues have been among the top discussions on social media; on facebooks westside townhall, the surfing community, our canoe clubs, and our kupuna's, who have witnessed this downfall and lack of maintenance for generations now. The inadequately built breakwater wall has never provided a "natural flow" of ocean current. HR122, written in 2017, called for a mechanism to generate circulation that would correct the lack thereof, which causes high bacteria counts and high levels of fecal matter to remain stagnant in Pōka'ī Bay waters. However, the State of Hawai'i and the Department of Land and Natural Resources took no action.
These concerns have also been discussed on the Wai'anae Neighborhood Board agenda for over ten years, to which people have installed ladders and ropes to navigate the broken jetty to fish and swim at their own risk. The Wai'anae Neighborhood Board wrote a resolution in 2021 alongside Wai'anae's community members that demand said members above to address these matters, which states: "6) Legislation will Provide funding to the Department of Boating and Ocean Recreation and the Department of Health (HB 107; Legislation 2020) to conduct a study that will enable effective water circulation and that funding will also be used repair the aging Jetty with the intent that, it will maintain a calm and cleaner swimming area which will, in turn, guarantee the health and safety of the Waianae Community and future generations." Unfortunately, said members have made no effort or response to date.
In 1962, Pete Goss, President of Honolulu Council of Boat Associations, petitioned for a light at the end of the Pōka'ī Bay breakwater wall. Unfortunately, today there is no beacon at the end of the jetty to warn boaters during hours of limited visibility, creating a navigational and safety hazard.
Poka'i Bay is a restricted fishing area. According to the Division of Aquatic Resources, conservation efforts should be upheld by the Department of Boating and Ocean Recreation. For many years the anchoring of boats and the pollution caused by bilge pump drainage has affected Poka'i Bay waters significantly. In addition, community members have testified, witnessed, and reported boats such as the "black sailboat," floating turd-like objects on the ocean surface; reports of high bacteria count have also been an issue left unresolved and documented on more than one occasion.
August 2021 email correspondences on the need to change the mooring rules were submitted to the Department of Boating and Ocean Recreation and the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The suggestion was to allow special permitting, i.e.: Hokulea, and or no more than three times a year because it does not have any maintained jetty walls. Nor does it have piers to measure the correct azimuth for the buoys to take lawful action. §13-244-33 PG 26
We, the undersigned, are requesting an official response from the following: Governor David Ige, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, Mayor Rick Blangiardi, BLNR Chairperson: Suzanne Case, DOBOR Administrator: Edward R. Underwood, District Administrator: Bruce Shwartz, Senator Maile Shimabukuro, City Councilwoman Andria Tupola, Representative Cedric Gates, and the University of Hawai'i, all agencies of the State of Hawaii, the City and County of Honolulu, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Department of Boating and Recreation to take immediate action on the procurement of funding in order to develop the plan, and expedite construction to improve water quality and mitigate the environmental and health hazards caused by pollution and contaminants.
Why is this important?
To address the health hazards, and environmental concerns, social and environmental injustice to the Wai'anae community. To make right what has been wrong for so long for our Kupunas and future generations to come.