Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (South) Phase I Improvements to Begin

Work will soon begin at the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor.  The Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District, has issued a letter of permission authorizing the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Outdoor Recreation (DOBOR) to begin work on the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (South) Phase I Improvements.

Me in front of an LCAC at the Kawaihae Harbor

Me in front of an LCAC at the Kawaihae Harbor

The Phase I project has been delayed for over 4-1/2 years due to environmental disputes concerning the potential impact to coral and listed species in the Endangered Species Act (ESA). At the request of the Federal regulatory agencies and the Army Corps of Engineers, DOBOR has completed numerous studies and has made revisions to the project design to mitigate damage to corals and impacts to ESA listed species. The Department of Army Permit (Letter of Permission) was finally issued on March 21, 2013.

“I am pleased that we will now be moving forward with the much needed improvements to the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (South),” said Senator Malama Solomon, who represents District 4, encompassing Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa and Kona. “These improvements have been long-awaited by the North Hawaiʻi community and will greatly enhance the safety and capacity of our harbor.”

The project will include an eight foot wide 445-foot long floating dock held in place by 17 concrete piles, each 16-½ inches in diameter.  In addition to the floating dock, a 47 foot long access ramp, gangway and 25 morning buoys which will provide 25 berthing stalls for light draft vessels to “Tahiti moor” to the floating dock, will be incorporated in the construction.

Groundbreaking for the Phase I project is expected to take place in June of 2013.


The Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor (South) was dredged in the 1970s and the breakwater structures were completed in the late 1990s by the Army Corps of Engineers for use as a small boat harbor (Federal Light Draft Navigational Improvement Project).

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