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DLNR to hold meeting on Hilo Bay buoys

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is hosting a public meeting to discuss day use moorings in Hilo Bay, to describe the program and the modified draft list of day use mooring buoy locations, and develop a priority ranking for these sites.

The meeting will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, in the Aupuni state building conference room, first floor, 75 Aupuni St. in Hilo.

This is the first of two outreach meetings being conducted by DLNR to solicit user feedback. To implement a series of day use moorings in Hilo, a draft list of appropriate sites will be developed based upon the advice of a core group of fishermen and professionals familiar with the Hilo area.

Boaters, fishers, commercial dive operators and other ocean users who frequent Hilo Bay and especially Blonde Reef and who are interested in preserving this resource should consider attending.

Previously, the need for day-use mooring buoys in the Hilo area was not recognized, primarily because there was no overt request from charter boats for their deployment. Day-use moorings are being installed as part of a coral mitigation plan that the Army Corps of Engineers permitted for the dredging of the Hilo harbor channel by the Department of Transportation.

DLNR is working to implement the mitigation plan and the first task is to hold a public meeting to get input on where the day use moorings should be installed.

During surveys of Blonde Reef for the artificial reef initially proposed as mitigation for the project, a variety of abandoned anchors were seen littering the bottom, and coral cover was much higher than anticipated. The need for buoys to offset damage from recreational users over this reef is apparent but has not been documented. Because Hilo Bay has multiple user groups (cruising sailboat moorings, sailing, canoe, paddling, jet skis, free diving, Scuba, and bottom fishing), it is imperative to coordinate the location of day use mooring buoys to serve multiple purposes appropriate with multiple user types.

A second meeting on this subject is planned and will be announced.


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