This Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the proposed phased installation and operational testing of up to six Wave Energy Conversion (WEC) buoys off North Beach at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) Kaneohe Bay (the Proposed Action). The EA has been prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 USC §4321 et seq.; regulations promulgated by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) (40 CFR §§1500-1508); Chief of Naval Operations Instruction (OPNAVINST 5090.1B CH-2); and U.S. Marine Corps Order (MCO P5090.2A).
In addition to the Proposed Action, two alternatives were evaluated: No Action, where the wave energy technology test would not be implemented in Hawai‘i, and an alternative site at a location outside the entrance to Pearl Harbor, Hawai‘i.
The potential impacts of each alternative were analyzed for the following resources/issues: shoreline physiography, oceanographic conditions, marine biological resources, terrestrial biological resources, land and marine resource use compatibility, cultural resources, infrastructure, recreation, public safety, and visual resources. The analyses indicate that there would be no impacts from the No Action alternative, and that the potential impacts from having the project at MCBH Kaneohe Bay or at the Pearl Harbor site would be similar and not significant for the following areas: coral and benthic communities, potential entanglement of marine life with the undersea cable, potential entrapment of marine mammals and sea turtles within the buoy, electromagnetic radiation, potential electrical leakage, installation and operational noise, and views. There would be only temporary impacts to recreation and public safety at North Beach, in areas not currently restricted by MCBH Kaneohe Bay in the vicinity of the buoy array. No cumulative impacts from the WET (Wave Energy Technology) test would occur.
The Navy has completed informal consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding threatened and endangered species at the project area off MCBH Kaneohe Bay. The Navy also consulted with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), native Hawaiian organizations, and some individuals known to attach religious and cultural significance to that part of the base. Informal consultation with SHPO was carried out under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and its implementing regulations in 36 CFR Part 800.
Key appendices included in this report that address environmental impacts are:
- Appendix D - Marine Natural Resources Insert for the WET EA. July 2002. Prepared by Steve Smith, PACDIV, Pearl Harbor, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i.
- Appendix F - Wave Energy Technology (WET) Project Environmental Impacts of Selected Components. July 2002. Sound & Sea Technology.
- Appendix H - Wave Energy Technology (WET) Marine Corps Base Hawaii Marine Environmental Assessment. May 2002. Marine Research Consultants.
- Appendix I - Marine Public Safety and Recreational Uses Report for the Wave Energy Technology (WET) Test Environmental Assessment (EA). May 2002. Ocean Recreation Consultant, John Clark.
- Appendix J - Wave Energy Conversion (WEC) Buoy Impact on a Wave Field. May 2002. Sea Engineering Inc.