Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program

CZARA Section 6217

Protection of Hawaii’s surface and marine waters is not only important to our main economic engine of tourism, but also a necessity in developing long term sustainability planning. However, nonpoint source (NPS) pollution remains the largest source of water quality problems for our lakes, streams, wetlands and coastal waters. The most common NPS pollutants are sediment and nutrients. Other common NPS pollutants include pesticides, pathogens (bacteria and viruses), oil, grease, toxic chemicals, litter, lawn clippings, heavy metals and cesspool seepage. The consequences of NPS pollution are water-born diseases and beach closures, algae blooms, fish kills, and turbid waters.

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Polluted Runoff from the shoreline of Aina Haina (East Honolulu)

In 1990, congress enacted the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments by adding a new Section 6217 “Protecting Coastal Waters,” which was codified as 16 U.S.C. -1455b. This section provides that each State with an approved coastal zone management program must develop and submit to EPA and NOAA for approval a Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program (CNPCP). The purpose of the program “shall be to develop and implement management measures for nonpoint source pollution to restore and protect coastal waters, working in close conjunction with other State and local authorities.” The Hawaii Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program Management Plan was submitted in June of 1996.

CNPCP’s are unique in that they establish a set of management measures to use as a means to reduce the polluted runoff that reaches our surface, ground and marine waters. Management measures are the best available, economically achievable practices or combinations of practices that can be used to address nonpoint source pollution. The management measures are designed to control runoff from six main sources: forestry, agriculture, urban areas, marinas, hydromodification (shoreline and stream channel modification), and wetlands and vegetated shorelines, or riparian areas. These measures are backed by enforceable state policies and actions that will ensure implementation of the program. The CNPCP primarily focuses on pollution prevention, minimizing the creation of polluted runoff rather than cleaning up already contaminated water—a very difficult and expensive process.

Current Activities

Hawaii’s CNPCP has recently moved toward promoting the broader concept of watershed planning with the targeted application of management measures. The watershed approach looks not only at a water body but also the entire area that drains into it. This allows communities to focus resources on the watersheds most serious environmental problems–which, in many instances, are caused by Non-Point Source pollution. To learn more about watershed planning and Section 319 funding opportunities. In line with this philosophy, a combination of efforts has recently been completed.

The Hawaii Watershed Guidance is a streamline version of EPA’s Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters (March 2008). It was created to help local community organizations understand and prepare watershed plans in compliance with EPA guidelines for 319 funding and also serve as a means to reintroduce the 6217 (g) measures. The Responsible Agencies and Authorities: A Supplemental For Hawaii Management Measures list all the agencies involved in oversight and implementation of Hawaii’s Management Measures.

The Watershed Prioritization Process (June 2009)was developed to identify priority watersheds in need of protection or restoration and create an Implementation Schedule. This project included a Watershed Summit with various agencies engaged in watershed management efforts. The purpose of the Summit was to; 1) introduce our watershed prioritization process and invite feedback; and 2) a pre-launch informative summary of our upcoming Watershed Planning Guidance. As new data and information become available in the future, the Watershed Prioritization Process methodology and criteria will continue to be updated and refined to the extent that there is funding to do so. Please send your comments and suggestions to the CZM Program.

The Management Measure Update was also completed in June 2009. The purpose of the project was to identify all new regulatory mechanism and agencies overseeing the protection of Hawaii’s surface and marine waters. Secondly, it would ensure that, as watershed plans are developed and updated, the (g) measures will be considered and action items to implement the (g) measures will be incorporated into the plans as appropriate. The update is incorporated into Hawaii’s Watershed Guidance.

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