School To Be Built On Top Of Hawaii Cave!

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School To Be Built On Top Of Hawaii Cave!

Postby NZcaver » Aug 29, 2009 12:23 am

Forwarding an urgent announcement from Fred Stone, cave biologist and longtime Hawaii caver:

On Tuesday Aug. 25 the Hawaii Tribune Herald reported that Connections Charter School is planning to build a campus on the lot that is directly over Kaumana Cave. The HTH website is: http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com The headline is: "Connections charter school plans campus in Kaumana"

The draft Environmental Assessment came out on August 8, and the comment period ends Sept. 6--so time is critical!

To get the draft EA, go to: http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov
Click on "EA & EIS online library > Hawaii 2000's > Scroll down to the date: 2009-08-08 > Click on "Connections charter school ... " This will bring up the draft EA.

I have surveys of the cave that I did in the 1980's and 1990's, and a official survey using a transit done in 1992 (they left the nails as survey markers). This was part of the Puainako Road EIS. I also wrote a report for that EIS, but only as a hard copy.

The important points are:

The Draft EA mentions Kaumana Cave, but says there is 25-30 feet of rock over its roof--totally bogus! They include no map of the cave.

There is no discussion of the use of the cave by tourists and by schools. Also no discussion of endemic species in the cave.

If you are appalled by this development, as I am, please send comments on the Draft EA.

Fred


More information on Kaumana Caves, one of Hawaii's few publicly accessible caves here
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Re: School To Be Built On Top Of Hawaii Cave!

Postby onebat » Aug 29, 2009 7:25 pm

Sometimes it amazes me what people will do. There was a similiar instance in my area, although it was not a cave but a large cavity. They decided to build the new high school next to it, and they filled the cavity in and built the gymn on top of it! I keep wondering if the gymn will 'sink' one of these days.
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School To Be Built On Top Of Hawaii Cave!

Postby Ernie Coffman » Aug 30, 2009 11:58 am

NZ, do you have any other info on this from Fred?
The draft Environmental Assessment came out on August 8, and the comment period ends Sept. 6--so time is critical!

To get the draft EA, go to: http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov
Click on "EA & EIS online library > Hawaii 2000's > Scroll down to the date: 2009-08-08 > Click on "Connections charter school ... " This will bring up the draft EA.


I've tried going into the EA and don't get squat. :down:

I checked with a caver friend of mine on the otherside of the island and she hasn't heard anything about this, until I sent her your message, which I believe Fred put together. She indicated that Fred knows what he's talking about, but...I can't read anything from the document that you put here. :shrug: Any suggestions...or is it too late? This IS the 30th of August and 8/8 was a ways back, unfortunately.
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Re: School To Be Built On Top Of Hawaii Cave!

Postby NZcaver » Aug 30, 2009 2:43 pm

Hi Ernie,

I have no further info from Fred at this time, however others have contributed additional information by email. I will ask permission to post some of it here.

I can download and read that document just fine. Perhaps there's a computer issue at your end? The PDF is approxmately 21MB in size, so it may take a while to download.

The document was released on August 8, and the comment period ends on September 6 - next Sunday. One month seems an awfully short time to solicit comments, but I can only assume this is standard procedure in Hawaii. So yes, there is still time to make a submission if you do it promptly.
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School To Be Built On Top Of Hawaii Cave!

Postby Ernie Coffman » Aug 30, 2009 10:11 pm

Thanks NZ! I'll try, again on this issue. Computer shouldn't be a problem...unless I've gained an insect somewhere. :rofl:

How have things been going in your southern habitat of Washington State, anyway? Going to be a little different from where you were, 'eh? :laughing: By the way, which island are you from over in Kiwiland? We'd like to go back, since it was such a fantastic place to live.
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Re: School To Be Built On Top Of Hawaii Cave!

Postby NZcaver » Sep 3, 2009 4:50 pm

More from Fred Stone today. He is making a submission to the state on the draft Environmental Assessment, and asked me to post about it here on the forum. The following is the initial summary portion. The full document is many more pages long, and includes maps, diagrams, and references.

Comments on the Draft E.A. for Connections Charter School in Kaumana

Fred D. Stone, Ph.D
Sept. 2, 2009

SUMMARY

I am requesting that an Environmental Impact Statement be completed on the plan for Connections Charter School in Kaumana. The reasons are:

The Draft EA has not adequately assessed the potential significant impact of the proposed development on Kaumana Cave, which underlies a major part of the project area beneath the former TMK 2-5-06-4, the mauka lot currently combined with TMK 2-5-06-141 (see Figures 1,2,3 below). Hawaiian land law includes in property ownership not only the surface but the subsurface , including caves. It is therefore highly improper to leave out of the Draft EA a large and well known cave that underlies, and is part of the proposed parcel.

1. The survey showing the location of Kaumana Cave under the development was omitted from the Draft EA. This is a significant omission, given that the cave was surveyed by Island Survey as part of the Puainako Extension EIS (1993, p34). Although the Draft EA sites the Puainako Extension EIS, the map showing the cave location was inexpicably left out. An accurate map of the cave is crucial for designing surface structures to avoid safety issues during construction and to prevent damage or pollution to the cave. (see Figure 1 below)

2. The Draft EA does not include the relevant parts of the Hawaii State Cave Protection Law (SH2898), which should be included in the Final EA and EIS.

3. Hazards relating to construction over Kaumana Cave have not been addressed adequately: the depth of the cave and the thickness of lava overlying the cave have not been adequately measured, with related liability and safety issues for surface development and for roof collapse within the cave. Clearing and grading over the cave could also have significant impacts on the cave ecosystem and hydrology.

4. The issues regarding the placement of the school on an area with recent lava flows has not been adequately addressed: the entire development is on the 128 year old 1880-81 lava flow in the Mauna Kea/Mauna Loa Saddle zone, that regularly channels lava flows from Mauna Loa’s upper northeast rift zone.

5. The hydrology of the area is inadequately analyzed. A thorough hydrological survey needs to be included in the Final EA and EIS, as was done for the Puainako Extension EIS (Appendix F, Drainage). The 1880-81 lava flow followed an intermittent stream channel from above Kaumana Village to below the planned development. The entire length of Kaumana Cave beneath the development is a flood water channel on a perched aquifer. Runoff water from Kaumana Drive is channeled into the cave, and contributes to major flooding of the cave downslope.

6. Alternative sites are not adequately addressed, except to state that there aren’t any.
Given the serious potential environmental impacts of the development, other sites should be presented and reasons for their acceptance or rejection should be detailed.

7. The cave biology was not included in the Draft EA (Appendix B), although it has been thoroughly studied and is well known (Puainako EIS, Appendix D).

8. Alternative uses of Kaumana Cave and the State land overlying it have not been adequately assessed.
• Science: geology, vulcanology, biology, microbiology
• Tourism, recreation
• Education
• Religious and spiritual use
• Historical values


For those who would like to read the full version, contact Fred directly at fred[at]hawaii[dot]edu
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