HONOLULU (KHON2) — According to the North Shore Resilience Working Group, 73% of Oahu’s North Shore beaches are undergoing chronic erosion.
“We need a solution now,” said Brad Romine, University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program Coastal Resilience extension specialist.
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The group is community-driven and made up of North Shore residents, advocates and experts. They’ve been meeting since last year to address coastal erosion threats.
One of the long-term solutions includes property purchases.
“We are talking about purchasing homes to restore them back into the natural beaches and that’s one approach that is very expensive, but there may be other options that are more affordable,” said Romine.
With a home already falling onto the sand in the Rocky Point area in February, the group said immediate solutions are needed. That includes creating a beach and dune management plan and establish a statewide managed retreat program to help impacted homeowners.
The group also said some temporary solutions are only making matters worse.
“We’ve seen a lot of these tarps and other temporary erosion solutions options placed on the front of the dunes. It can provide some temporary protection to those properties, but the materials falling off in front of the beach and into the ocean becoming an environmental problem of its own,” Romine said.
The North Shore Coastal Resilience Working Group has already identified three hot spots including Mokuleia, Laniakea and Sunset beaches. They said the solutions should be implemented in a phased approach especially for areas seeing severe impacts.
The group said there also needs to be state, county and federal coordination to create an emergency action plan. As the next legislative session approaches, the working group hopes policymakers hear their call for action.
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“We can’t piecemeal this,” said Lauren Blickley, Surfrider Foundation Hawaii Regional Manager. “We know that our shorelines are chronically eroding. We need to be planning on how we move away from the shoreline.”