MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Marine Corps Base Hawaii is balancing diligent stewardship of the environment on Oahu while maintaining an effective Marine Corps training area at Pu’uloa Range Training Facility (PRTF). Given the significant coastal erosion along the shoreline, MCBH is exploring multiple stabilization options to ensure PRTF continues to operate as a vitally important piece to Marine Corps readiness in the Pacific.
As required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), MCBH contracted Naval Facilities Engineering Command to conduct an Environmental Assessment (EA) in 2019, to understand the effects of a proposed shoreline stabilization project at PRTF. This assessment was conducted in accordance with all applicable policies and laws required by NEPA, ensuring the proposed federal action considered impacts to human health and the environment. Multiple alternatives were considered and analyzed throughout the course of the EA.
The results of the EA produced a course of action known as the “preferred alternative.” MCBH intends to implement the proposed action in three phases. In the first phase, MCBH initiates projects to revegetate available fast land areas fronting all ranges, to naturally slow the erosion. In the second phase, MCBH moves the short-distance ranges (C-F) back from the shoreline, to further protect the impact berms from erosion and ensure the ability of Marines to continue training on the range. The managed retreat of ranges C-F would create a larger buffer area between the short-distance ranges and the ocean. MCBH is not programed or budgeted for the third phase at this time, but will closely monitor the rate of erosion following the first two phases. The proposed third phase consists of a sheet pile structure 1500’ long, and buried up to 20’ deep, above the high water mark in front of ranges A-B. Depending on when the third phase is pursued, additional NEPA analysis may be required. Additional details are available on the MCBH website. The EA analysis resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) to the environment across all phases.
It is important to note that in the performance of the analysis, MCBH consulted with all necessary regulatory agencies to include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the State Historic Preservation Division. MCBH considered cultural, historic and natural resources to include monk seals, sea turtles and essential fish habitat as part of the EA, and coastal impacts were submitted to the State’s Coastal Zone Management Program. Public involvement was pursued through the Honolulu Star Advertiser in Aug 2019. MCBH took additional steps to consider public concern over the proposed action by delaying the release of the FONSI until further coordination was completed with the Hawaii Federal Delegation. Following an on-site engagement and correspondence with the delegation, the FONSI was released via the HSA and the Office of Environmental Quality and Control’s The Environmental Notice in Mar 2020.
MCBH remains committed to absolute transparency in the shoreline stabilization process and continues to work with the local community, non-governmental organizations and elected officials to address concerns and clarify misinformation. MCBH recently conducted a tour of PRTF with Representative Matthew LoPresti and the Surfrider Foundation Oahu on March 3, 2021 to accomplish these objectives. To learn more about the proposed shoreline protection EA please read the entirety of the report and FONSI, available on MCBH’s webpage at: https://www.mcbhawaii.marines.mil/
Imagery from MCBH’s engagement with Re LoPresti and the Surfrider Foundation Oahu: