THE SENATE                           S.R. NO.              23
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                    SENATE  RESOLUTION


 1        WHEREAS, the state general plan provides that the State
 2   should plan for the development and expansion of potential
 3   growth activities that serve to diversify and strengthen
 4   Hawaii's economy; and
 6        WHEREAS, Voyager Submarines Hawaii commenced operations in
 7   November 1994, to provide passenger submarine tours of Hawaii's
 8   marine aquatic and reef ecosystems.  The company operates two
 9   forty-eight passenger submarines offering submarine tours at a
10   site located approximately three-fourths mile offshore off Ala
11   Moana Beach Park, in water depths of sixty to one hundred ten
12   feet; and
14        WHEREAS, there is little live coral growth on the seabed
15   and the fishery is depleted, and Voyager proposes to sink two
16   derelict vessels on the site, in ninety to one hundred feet of
17   water to serve as artificial reefs to promote coral and fish
18   growth; and
20        WHEREAS, this project is consistent with the main aspects
21   of the State's environmental policy, pursuant to section 344-3,
22   Hawaii Revised Statutes, and state and national artificial reef
23   programs; and
25        WHEREAS, only steel ships will be used because they are
26   more dense and, therefore, more stable than wooden or
27   fiberglass boats, and ships are effective artificial reefs
28   because they offer complex internal spaces, large amounts of
29   surface area, high profiles, and promote rapid coral growth;
30   and
32        WHEREAS, the vessels used as artificial reefs will be
33   thoroughly cleaned to United States Coast Guard, Environmental
34   Protection Agency, and state Department of Health standards
35   before deployment, and then deployed on barren unproductive,
36   sandy substrate at least one hundred feet away from any coral
37   sensitive areas at a depth of approximately one hundred feet,
38   not to exceed one hundred ten feet, thereby minimizing depth-
39   related hazards to recreational divers.  At this water depth

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                                  S.R. NO.              23

 1   the ship will not protrude within forty feet of the surface so,
 2   therefore, the ships will not be navigational hazards.
 3   Controlled sinking and use of concrete ballast will be used to
 4   ensure proper placement and to ensure the ship will not move
 5   due to storm wave impacts; and
 7        WHEREAS, the Department of the Army, section 10 and
 8   section 404 provisional permit was issued on September 24,
 9   1997, and the Army Corps of Engineers is prepared to issue a
10   valid permit authorizing the reef installation; and
12        WHEREAS, the Department of Health, Section 401 Water
13   Quality Certification, was issued on October 13, 1997; and
15        WHEREAS, on August 25, 1997, the coastal zone management
16   certificate of consistency program of the state Office of
17   Planning determined the project was consistent with Hawaii's
18   coastal zone management program, on the condition that the
19   project features outlined in the environmental assessment and
20   the final environmental impact statement are implemented; and
22        WHEREAS, a biological monitoring program will be
23   implemented upon reef deployment, and this program will last a
24   minimum of three years; and
26        WHEREAS, the proposed artificial reef will be for a
27   direct, nonexclusive easement to Voyager Submarines Hawaii,
28   thereby providing additional public access and recreational
29   opportunities.  Also provided will be additional SCUBA diving
30   sites for visitors, thereby relieving other SCUBA diving sites
31   from overuse and overcrowded conditions.  The artificial reef
32   will provide six submerged day moorings for dive boats so they
33   will not have to drop anchors onto the coral structure,
34   relieving damage from anchors; and
36        WHEREAS, the derelict wrecks will be made safe for SCUBA
37   divers to tour around and inside by sealing all hazardous
38   holds, removing all doors and hatches, and removal of all
39   cables, lines, and wiring that pose entanglement hazards, and
40   the ships will be inspected by all interested agencies prior to
41   deployment; and
43        WHEREAS, educational aspects of the artificial reefs and
44   benthic environment will be emphasized during the dive tours.
45   By promoting fish and coral growth, the reefs will also improve
46   the submarine tours, thereby, encouraging an industry that is

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                                  S.R. NO.              23

 1   in harmony with the environment.  The submarine tours educate
 2   visitors on Hawaii's unique environment, and help foster a
 3   commitment to protect and enhance these resources; and
 5        WHEREAS, these reefs will be undertaken by the private
 6   sector and will cause no expense to the State; and
 8        WHEREAS, the Hawaii ocean and submerged lands leasing law
 9   allows the Department of Land and Natural Resources to manage
10   and develop ocean resources by defining rights of usage and
11   tenure and providing protection for approved activities; and
13        WHEREAS, in 1985, a national artificial reef plan was
14   developed at the direction of the National Fishing Enhancement
15   Act of 1984, to enhance and diversify fishery resources,
16   increase fishing opportunities, and contribute to coastal
17   economies.  The plan presents technical guidelines which have
18   been and will be used in deploying the artificial reefs; and
20        WHEREAS, artificial reefs have been extensively used
21   around the world, in the United States, and in Hawaii to
22   enhance fisheries.  Between 1984 and 1994, twenty-one coastal
23   states in the United States deployed over two hundred twenty
24   artificial reefs in marine and estuarine areas; in total there
25   are over six hundred fifty artificial reefs in United States
26   coastal waters; and
28        WHEREAS, the State of Hawaii began an artificial reef
29   deployment program in the late 1950s that now includes several
30   shallow water sites offshore Oahu and Maui.  These reefs have
31   included eight vessels on Oahu alone; and
33        WHEREAS, numerous studies have been completed on the
34   impacts to the marine environment of artificial reefs.  The
35   studies' results have consistently shown artificial reefs to be
36   effective for enhancing reef habitat and increasing fish
37   biomass within the reef site, and rapid coral growth, and that
38   sunken vessels have also been observed to be resting places for
39   green sea turtles; and
41        WHEREAS, the Hawaii State Legislature requested the
42   Department of Land and Natural Resources to conduct a study in
43   1994 to investigate the correlation between artificial reefs,
44   fish feeding, and shark risks to in-shore recreational users,
45   whereby the study revealed no correlation between artificial
46   reefs, fish feeding, and risks from sharks; and

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                                  S.R. NO.              23

 2        WHEREAS, submerged lands in Hawaii are deemed to be in the
 3   conservation district and are overseen by the Department of
 4   Land and Natural Resources through conservation district use
 5   applications, and issuance of board or departmental permits;
 6   and
 8        WHEREAS, this project involves the use of submerged lands
 9   classified in the resource subzone, and will require a board
10   permit, and the Board of Land and Natural Resources is,
11   therefore, the approving agency; and
13        WHEREAS, the final environmental impact statement has been
14   submitted to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and
15   all other interested parties in accordance with chapter 11-200,
16   Hawaii Administrative Rules (Department of Health), and chapter
17   343, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and
19        WHEREAS, the proposed action will not make use of
20   nonrenewable resources and will not irreversibly curtail the
21   range of potential uses of the environment.  To the contrary,
22   the project will increase the range of potential uses of the
23   area by providing improved diving and fishing opportunities,
24   and increased access through the use of mooring buoys; now,
25   therefore,
27        BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twentieth Legislature
28   of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 1999, that this body
29   supports the proposed artificial reef and derelict wreck
30   placement on the Voyager Submarines, Hawaii dive site, Oahu,
31   Hawaii; and
33        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this
34   Resolution be transmitted to the President of Voyager
35   Submarines; Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural
36   Resources; the Commanding General, United States Army, Pacific;
37   Director of the Department of Health, and the planning program
38   manager, coastal zone management program.
42                           OFFERED BY: ___________________________