Hawaii Boat Ramp Could Restore Ocean Access In Volcano Area

Nov 12, 2019

HILO, Hawaii — The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is expected to seek funding from the state Legislature to establish ocean access at a boat ramp cut off by the Kilauea eruption, officials said.

The Pohoiki boat ramp facility on the Big Island closed shortly after Kilauea began erupting in May 2018, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

The only ramp between Hilo and Milolii became landlocked by a black sand and cobblestone beach and affected the ability of fishermen to access the ocean, officials said.

A short-term proposal involves driving sheet-pile walls into the ground on either side of the ramp entrance and dredging the channel to provide temporary ocean access, said Dan Dennison, a Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman.

The department has requested the release of $500,000 from the state's fiscal year 2020-21 budget, Dennison said.

The state likely would have to prepare an environmental assessment and obtain the necessary permits for the work, according to the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.

The department estimated a cost of $8 million to $9 million.

A long-term solution under consideration involves a new boat ramp on the north side of Pohoiki Bay. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is reviewing that proposal, which is estimated to cost $28 million, Dennison said.

"Implementation of either the short-term or long-term projects will of course depend on whether funding becomes available," Dennison said.