David Y.Ige | DLNR Press Release: DIVERS SAVE CORAL FROM HONOLULU HARBOR CANAL DREDGING PROJECT
DLNR Press Release: DIVERS SAVE CORAL FROM HONOLULU HARBOR CANAL DREDGING PROJECT
Published on February 4, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room
(HONOLULU) – This week, DLNR’s Aquatic Resources Division (AAR) and a private contractor completed moving more than 70 coral colonies and many individual corals out of the way of a US Army channel dredging operation. Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Honolulu Harbor days before the start of dredging operations.
This decision follows several weeks of last-minute discussions between the DAR and USACE over the fate of the corals. Initially, USACE planned to relocate the corals. But with less than a month’s notice, USACE changed course and told DLNR that if they wanted to save the corals, they could do so, at state expense. The USACE considered that damage to these coral colonies, some of which exceed five feet in diameter, would be minimal and planned to dredge the channel without offering any mitigation measures to displace the corals.
So the Aquatic Resources Division of DLNR stepped in to save them.
On Tuesday, contract divers began cutting off coral heads, placing them in an underwater cage and then transporting them by boat to a receiving site across the harbour.
Kim Fuller, a DAR aquatic biologist, explained: “We marked the corals for the divers with GPS coordinates. In some cases, they had to separate the corals from the live colonies that are on huge live rocks up to five feet in diameter. The corals were then carefully placed in the recipient’s location, either using epoxy or, in some cases, cement. We have selected a suitable site nearby, so hopefully this can add to the habitat at the new site. »
The cost of moving corals for DLNR was $40,000.
DAR Administrator Brian Neilson said: “While we appreciate the need for periodic dredging of the busy commercial port, we have an obligation to protect the coral reefs no matter where they are. This channel dredging project has already caused significant damage to corals adjacent to the channel last year. We are disappointed that the USACE decided that the anticipated impact to corals was minimal and would not displace or avoid corals within the dredge footprint. But thanks to our efforts, we were able to save the corals.
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(All images/videos courtesy of DLNR)
HD video – Coral relocation work in Honolulu Harbor (February 2, 2022):
(shooting sheet/transcription attached)
HD video – Underwater video of coral relocation work (February 3, 2022):
HD Video – Underwater of divers working on Honolulu Harbor coral (Courtesy of Cates Marine):
Photographs – Coral relocation work in Honolulu Harbor (February 2, 2022):
Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources