Categorized | Opinions

Underwater Noise ignored in Superferry EIS

Aloha, Editor!!!

It is well known that marine mammals are quite sensitive to underwater noise. Therefore, if the Act 2 EIS were legitimate, it would have included an investigation of the underwater noise produced by the Superferry. On 27 March, 2008 I requested DOT’S Michael Formby to measure the underwater noise and evaluate the impact on marine mammals as part of the EIS on the Statewide Large-Capacity Inter-Island Ferry (same as the Hawaii Superferry). Formby did nothing!!

There are reasons to believe that the underwater noise put out by the Hawaii Superferry will be great enough to violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act that applies to US waters. As an example, the Condor Express – which is similar to the Hawaii Superferry – is known to put out so much underwater noise at high speeds that it will likely harass humpback whales when they get closer than 1,000 yards by altering their behavior. Behavior harassment is any act which has the potential to disturb a marine mammal in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering. (This is “Level B” harassment, unlawful under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.). At closer distances, noise from the Superferry could conceivably cause hearing damage.

The Act 2 pseudo EIS should be rejected for many reasons. One of these reasons it that it did not measure the underwater noise from Hawaii Superferry and evaluate it’s impact on marine mammals.

Duane Erway

One Response to “Underwater Noise ignored in Superferry EIS”

  1. Kimo says:

    WRONG. Noise was measured from several directions and ditances and speeds. See Chapter 4

    “At the peak of whale season when ambient noise levels are highest,
    the sound generated by the Alakai would likely become imperceptible at distances beyond 100 meters. Thus, it is unlikely that noise generated from the Alakai would cause acoustic impacts to humpback whales.”


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