THE SENATE

S.R. NO.

97

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 
   


SENATE RESOLUTION

 

REQUESTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TASK FORCE TO STUDY THE FEASIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A FRESHWATER FISHERY AT THE WAHIAWA RESERVOIR, OAHU.

 

 

WHEREAS, recreational fishing is a popular sport enjoyed by many residents as well as visitors to this State; and

WHEREAS, one of the few freshwater fishing opportunities in the State is found in the Wahiawa Freshwater State Recreational Area (Recreational Area) on Oahu, which offers, among other things, bass fishing in the Wahiawa Reservoir (Reservoir) also known as Lake Wilson; and

WHEREAS, as the largest and most heavily fished freshwater body in the State, the Reservoir contains approximately 3,000,000,000 gallons of water and encompasses a surface area of approximately 300 acres; and

WHEREAS, recently, bass fishing has been affected by the Reservoir's water quality as well as its rising water level; and

WHEREAS, water heights have risen following the closure of the Waialua Sugar Company in 1996, which used the water for irrigation purposes; the high water level has discouraged fishing from the banks of the Reservoir; and

WHEREAS, at the same time, the City's Wahiawa Wastewater Treatment Plant discharges approximately 2,000,000 gallons of treated effluent into the Reservoir each day; this rich nutrient has contributed to fish kills; and

WHEREAS, in an effort to conserve the fish population, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) promulgated "catch and release" rules that prohibited the taking of largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as tucanare from the Reservoir pursuant to H.C.R. No. 197, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, adopted during the Regular Session of 1996; and

WHEREAS, as community leaders study ways to permanently divert the effluent from the Reservoir, the Wahiawa community has been taking steps to revitalize the bass fishing program; and

WHEREAS, using federal moneys earmarked for restocking sport fisheries and matched with State funds, Wahiawa Middle School and community volunteers have embarked on a largemouth bass replenishment program by building a hatchery on its campus; and

WHEREAS, if successful, spawning should take place this spring and fingerlings could be released into the Reservoir in early 2003; and

WHEREAS, eventually, largemouth bass fishing could help to revitalize Wahiawa's economy through annual bass fishing tournaments as well as guided fishing tours; related businesses, including boat rentals, fishing equipment, and so forth, could flourish; and

WHEREAS, these objectives are consistent with the recommendations of the Wahiawa Reservoir Task Force (established pursuant to H.C.R. No. 88, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, Regular Session of 1995) that the Legislature support continued recreational use of the Reservoir with emphasis on fishing and boating, the enforcement of fishing regulations and litter laws, and stricter water quality standards; and

WHEREAS, making improvements to the Reservoir as well as the Recreational Area have remained a high priority among residents who expressed their support in the Wahiawa Town Master Plan (July 1994) for the enhancement and development of freshwater fishing and recreational opportunities at the Reservoir and improvements to the Recreational Area for camping, picnicking, and hiking; and

WHEREAS, given the potential ramifications of this new industry, it is appropriate and timely to appoint a body to review the potential impacts and needs of an expanded freshwater fishery in the Reservoir; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2002, that DLNR is requested to convene a Task Force to determine the feasibility of establishing a freshwater fishery at the Reservoir, Oahu; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force consist of representatives from a broad segment of the community, including the Wahiawa Neighborhood Board No. 26, the Wahiawa Community and Business Association, the Hawaii Freshwater Fishing Association, the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, Office of Planning, DLNR, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division (Light), the Natural Resources Conservation Service, general recreational fishers on the lake, North Shore Freshwater Anglers, the Association of Freshwater Sport Anglers, Castle & Cooke or its subsidiary Dole Corporation, the City and County of Honolulu Department of Environmental Services and the Board of Water Supply, and other parties the members feel would substantially add to the discussion; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force examine, among other things:

(1) Previous attempts to develop a freshwater fishery in the Reservoir, their outcomes, and the lessons learned;

(2) Plans and proposals that could alter the water quality of the Reservoir, including plans to reduce the amount of nutrients contributed by the Wahiawa Wastewater Treatment Plant;

(3) Alternative species of fish that might be considered;

(4) The potential market for establishing such a fishery;

(5) Potential environmental and economic impacts that might result; and

(6) Cost factors involved, including the necessary facilities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force submit its findings and recommendations to the Legislature no later than 20 days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2003; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Report Title:

Freshwater Fishery at Wahiawa Reservoir, Oahu