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SETTLEMENT OVER MAKENA REEF DAMAGE UNDER REVIEW

Posted July 20, 2009, 12:16 PM HST Updated July 20, 2009, 04:09 PM HST
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The State land board will review a $130,000 settlement reached to resolve a dispute between Makena Boat Partners and the state.

Kai Kanai Chain over coral.  Image from DLNR Land Board files.

Kai Kanai Chain over coral. Image from DLNR Land Board files.

The issue stems from a citizens complaint filed in July of 2007, alleging that the company’s Kai Kanani vessel was anchored on coral in Makena Bay.

An initial inspection by the state Division of Aquatic Resources several days later indicated that the vessel’s anchor and chain damaged nearly 423 square meters of coral habitat.

In August of 2007, the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement issued a citation to the owners of the company and ordered that the vessel be moved. In a submittal filed by the Division of Aquatics Resources, the department claims the extent of damaged coral increased when wave action caused by Hurricane Flossie hit the coast of Maui in late August.

During a follow up inspection conducted on August 29, 2007, DAR staff estimated 538 individual coral colonies were killed, damaged, or dislodged by the Kai Kanani’s anchor and chain. Makena Boat Partners disputes the estimate.

Kai Kanani anchored in Makena.  Image from DLNR Land Board Files.

Kai Kanani anchored in Makena. Image from DLNR Land Board Files.

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Makena Boat Partners subsequently submitted a petition for a contested case hearing late last year. The petition was granted, but a settlement was reached in June, prior to a scheduled hearing.

The $130,000 proposed settlement is less than the nearly $543,000 in fines, fees, and costs originally imposed by the Board last year.

Under the agreement, the payment must be made within fourteen working days of finalization. The board is scheduled to take up the item for review this Wednesday, July 22, 2009.

(By Wendy Osher, Information supported by DLNR submittal to the Board of Land and Natural Resources)

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