DEIS Thirty Meter Telescope Project UH @ Hilo Vol 2
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Thirty Meter Telescope Project Island of Hawai‘i
Proposing Agency: University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
This Environmental Document was Prepared Pursuant to Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Chapter 343, Environmental Impact Statement Law and Chapter 200 of Title 11, Hawai‘i Administrative Rules, Department of Health, Environmental Impact Statement Rules
May 23, 2009
4.1 Area E, Access Way, and Batch Plant Staging Area
Habitat Disturbance should be minimized - The rocks and cinder within Area E are home to lichens, mosses, and endemic arthropods, therefore disturbance should be minimized at the construction site and in the surrounding habitats.
Recommendation 1: Disturbance should be minimized. Construction activities should be limited to the footprint pad and road improvements, and no cinder or other materials should be side-cast into adjacent habitat.
Recommendation 2: Dust can impact lichens, mosses, and ferns and is believed to degrade Wēkiu bug habitat. Water should be applied to excavation sites and cinder stockpiles to minimize dust generation.
Recommendation 3: High winds can spread dust to surrounding habitat. It is recommended that dust-generating activities be suspended during high winds.
Recommendation 4: Soil-binding stabilizers such as Durasoil are currently being used on unpaved roads within the MKSR. These compounds help reduce dust and road maintenance and their use is encouraged. However, soil-binding stabilizers should be used sparingly, and should never be applied to habitat adjacent to the roads or observatory use areas.
Recommendation 5: Oil spills and other contaminating events have occurred at observatories in the past. While these spills have always been contained immediately and have not resulted in serious ecological damage, care should be taken to avoid any spills. The Project staff and contractors should follow Federal guidelines specifying the use and disposal of oil, gasoline, dangerous chemicals, and other substances used during observatory construction and maintenance.
Recommendation 6: Contractors should minimize the amount of on-site paints, thinners, and solvents. Painting and construction equipment should not be cleaned on-site. Contractors should keep a log of hazardous materials brought on-site and report spills immediately to a designated Project representative and the proper authorities.
Recommendation 7: Construction trash containers should be tightly covered to prevent construction wastes from being dispersed by wind.
Recommendation 8: Construction materials stored at the site should be covered with tarps, or anchored in place, and not be susceptible to movement by wind.
Recommendation 9: If construction materials and trash are blown into habitat, they should be collected with a minimum of disturbance.
Recommendation 10: Option 3, developing the existing 4-wheel drive road as the Access Way, should be avoided because it disturbs, displaces, and isolates portions of Wēkiu bug habitat. It would likely require mitigation measures similar to those suggested for the Outrigger Telescopes project, such as habitat restoration in the unnamed pu‘u. Option 2 crosses marginal Wēkiu bug habitat and would likely have no significant impact on Wēkiu bugs, but may entail some mitigation. The ideal option from a biological resources view is Option 1. It disturbs a minimal amount of only marginal habitat.
Introduction of non-indigenous arthropods and plants should be avoided – Non-indigenous arthropods can be a threat to native species that reside at or near the summit. Ants are especially threatening and their introduction should be strictly prevented. Introduced plants can change the microhabitat conditions if they become established, thereby facilitating the establishment of other non-indigenous species.
Recommendation 11: Earthmoving equipment should be free of large deposits of soil, dirt and vegetation debris that may harbor alien arthropods and weed seeds.
- Pressure-wash and/or otherwise remove alien arthropods and weed seeds from equipment and materials before moving them from lower elevations and up the Maunakea Access Road. This cleaning should be done in baseyards in Hilo or Waimea before continuing up Saddle Road.
- Inspect large trucks, tractors, and other heavy equipment before proceeding up Maunakea Access Road from Hale Pōhaku. Clean and wash as necessary prior to proceeding up to the summit area.
Recommendation 12: All construction materials, crates, shipping containers, packaging material, and observatory equipment should be free of alien arthropods when delivered to the summit.
- Inspect shipping crates, containers, and packing materials before shipment to Hawai‘i
- Inspect construction materials before transport to the summit area
Recommendation 13: Outdoor trash receptacles should be provided for ready disposal of lunch bags and wrappers. These receptacles should be secured to the ground, have attached lids and plastic liners, and be collected frequently to reduce food availability for alien predators.
Recommendation 14: The construction site and staging areas should be monitored to detect new introductions of non-indigenous arthropod and plant species. New alien arthropod and plant introductions detected during monitoring should be eradicated immediately.
- Ant eradication
- Yellowjacket eradication
- Alien spider eradication
- Weed eradication
4.2 Construction Staging Area, Hale Pōhaku
Habitat Disturbance should be minimized – While the Construction Staging Area and the immediate surrounding area within Hale Pōhaku are highly disturbed, a native ecosystem exists nearby. Care should be taken to avoid disturbance of that ecosystem.
Recommendation 1: In previous botanical surveys conducted at this site it was recommended that efforts be directed to managing the natural resources on and around the site. The recommendations included plantings of native species and removing introduced species, such as mullein and the newly arrived Madagascar ragwort. These recommendations are still valid today.
Recommendation 2: Because of increased tourist traffic and resident recreational use of the surrounding area, it is possible that more non-indigenous species will be introduced.
Construction vehicles and containers for the Project should be cleaned and inspected for alien species before proceeding up the Maunakea Access Road. These inspections are likely to intercept other alien species that may cause harm to the surrounding critical habitat at Hale Pōhaku.
Recommendation 3: Other habitat protection measures mentioned for Area E are also applicable at Hale Pōhaku. For example, control of trash, dust, and material is important to minimize disturbance to adjacent habitat. And, it is good practice to limit the amount of hazardous materials to decrease the potential for spills.
Recommendation 4: Another important habitat protection measure especially applicable at Hale Pōhaku is prevention of fire. The māmane forest surrounding the construction staging area is dry and susceptible to fire, and once started, a fire may be difficult to control. It is best to take precautions to prevent fire, such as advising personnel of the susceptibility of habitat to fire, limiting smoking to designated areas away from dry grass, and limiting the amount of activity that would cause sparks or fire that may spread to adjacent habitat. It is advisable to have fire extinguishers on hand and the construction staging area personnel should be trained in their use. These are practical measures that are usually applied at construction sites, but are especially important in natural areas where fire may have an impact on endangered species and their habitats.
Recommendation 5: The succineid snail (Succinea konaensis) occurs under fallen, dead trees. If dead trees are to be moved at the TMT Mid-Level Support Facility area, they should be placed outside the disturbance area. It may be preferred to have a qualified biologist present to search for and remove individual snails and relocate them with the dead trees.
Jesse Eiben checking Wēkiu bug traps on the unnamed pu‘u in April 2009.