LIHUE — An erosion control project geared at preventing landfill waste from dropping into the ocean behind Lihue Airport is nearing completion following a 17-month stall due to the discovery of a shearwater bird nesting colony on the worksite.
Department of Transportation Spokesman Tim Sakahara said construction resumed in February after the site was shut down in September 2013 when 276 wedgetailed shearwater bird burrows and nests were found on the north end of the worksite.
The site has since been reconfigured so as to prevent any disruption of the birds. Work on the reconfigured site is about 95 percent complete, Sakahara said.
Meanwhile, the DOT and the Department of Land and Natural Resources continue to work to reach an agreement on how to address the shearwater nests when construction on the project’s original footprint resumes.
“Work on the remainder of the original site is not expected any time soon, until a mitigation agreement is reached, and a new project initiated,” Sakahara said in an email.
Sakahara said he anticipates the nests will eventually be removed.
“Before that can happen, however, a mitigation agreement is expected to be made between DOT and DLNR for providing alternate measures in replacing the nesting site and/or supporting other related protective programs,” he said.
The erosion control project was launched by the DOT more than two years ago to stop landfill material from falling onto the shoreline by reburying it farther inland. In July 2013, the project was about 70 percent complete when the bird colony was discovered and the worksite boundaries were redrawn to prevent potential harm to the nesting wildlife.