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09 May 2022

From Anna Marie G. General, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

WAIANAE, Hawaii - As part of a three-phase project, the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) contractors completed its final phase of the Navy equipment removal project off Nanakuli Beach Park from March 21 to April 18. The duration of the project was originally planned from March to May but was successfully completed ahead of schedule. This final phase focused on shoreline removal actions to provide a safer and aesthetic environment for the community.
Located on Oahu’s west shore, Nanakuli Beach once served as the shore landing of a Navy multipurpose sensor test range for ships and submarines from 1964 to 2010 which was known as the Fleet Operational Readiness Accuracy Check Site (FORACS). The test range ceased operations in 2010. All land-based, above-larger ground structures were removed in 2014 but underwater conduits and cables remained in place, which led the Navy to coordinate the removal and restoration in phases.

“Now that operations have ceased at the FORACS facility, the Navy removed equipment and infrastructure to comply with the state of Hawaii lease agreement, and in an effort to be a good neighbor to the community by increasing safety for beachgoers,” said Dawn Rodes, FORACS program manager and NATO FORACS U.S. representative. “The project was separated into three phases based on availability of resources and applicability of permitting.”

Rodes explains the three phases of the Nanakuli FORACS project.

“Phases I and II involved removal of equipment in the water and required a state water quality certificate, as well as a pre-construction notification document for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Phase III was conducted on shore and had different permitting requirements which required consultation with the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division,” added Rodes.

In 2020, Navy divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 began the first phase with the successful removal of underwater conduits, pipes, cable and debris from the reef and waters off Zablan Beach located on the south end of Nanakuli Beach Park. In 2021, MDSU-1 continued the second phase to remove more of the underwater equipment and cables, and the transplant of healthy corals to a nearby location. With the final phase, NAVSEA contractors continued to work on the removal of a 20-inch conduit and the top portions of three manholes/vaults where each manhole was covered with textured colored cement over the remaining conduit trench to match the color and surface height of the natural rock.

According to Rodes, this project was supported by the City and County of Honolulu, Naval Sea Systems Command, Environmental Group; Legal, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport Rhode Island, Naval Facilities Command Hawaii, Navy Region Hawaii, MDSU-1, and other state and federal agencies.

With the U.S. Navy’s equipment removal and restoration project in partnership with the City and County of Honolulu, proper guidelines and regulations were met with the local, historic and environmental agencies prior to beginning the project, and a permit was obtained. During the construction removal project, fences secured the rocky shoreline and a 24-hour security was provided to ensure the safety of the general public. After eight years of planning this restoration effort, Zablan Beach at Nanakuli Beach Park is now open for beachgoers to safely enjoy from the shoreline to the seashore.

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