Permit being sought to dump dredge on stilt habitat in Hawaii Kai marina
What ever happened to the Hawaii Kai Marina Community Association's plans to put dredge material on islands occupied by endangered Hawaiian stilts?
Answer: The association continues to pursue a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit that, if approved, would allow maintenance dredging of the marina over 10 years.
The corps will not issue a permit until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviews "a bathymetric and topographic map of Rim Island 2 being prepared by applicant," corps spokesman Dino Buchanan said.
The Fish and Wildlife Service must approve the plans as acceptable for the birds.
The map will not be ready until the fall, said Steve Carr, president of the community association.
Some Hawaii Kai residents have objected to the association's plan to put some dredge spoil on Rim Island 2, because the 4-acre island has become a habitat for the stilt since the last time dredge spoil was placed there in 1995-96.
The Hawaiian stilt, or aeo ("one who stands tall"), is a distinctive black and white bird, usually with pink legs. An estimated 1,200 to 1,600 birds remain in the wild, and they have been on the U.S. Endangered Species List since 1970.
The main threats to their survival have been the destruction of their wetland habitats and predation by animals.
The island provides a place where dogs, rats and cats cannot get to the birds, which lay their eggs on the ground, wildlife officials say.
Carr said the marina entrance to the ocean desperately needs dredging but that the association has promised to put that dredged material on nearby beaches. The association hopes not to have to put dredge spoil on Rim Island 2, but does not want to rule it out and believes it can be done without disturbing the birds, he said.
"We've got more than the birds to worry about," Carr said. "We have the residents, too."
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Diana Leone.
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