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Erosion gnaws away shoreline at Waikiki beach

Updated: 
August 23, 2017 - 9:33pm

HONOLULU — State and city officials are hoping to get together with Waikiki business owners and the surfing community to brainstorm ways to fix a serious beach erosion problem.

In 2012, the state took two concrete erosion barriers off of Waikiki beach because they were falling apart. But ever since then, the shore has been eroding to the point where water is now turning brown.

“It’s ugly,” said Sabrina Kim, who was visiting the beach from California. “It’s not what you really expect when you come to Hawaii. You want to see sand.”

Officials have been using temporary fixes, such as placing old carpets by the shoreline to help prevent the dirt from going into the ocean. But one long-term idea officials are considering is a sandbag barrier, KHON-TV reported Monday.

It would take about six months to get permission and install the sandbags because talks would have to be held with officials and permits would have to be obtained, Dolan Eversole of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program said.

Doing so “would be an appropriate response to the erosion here, depending on dimensions and the size of course,” Eversole said. “There needs to be careful thought and consideration to down drift impacts.”

He blames the erosion on the extremely high “king tides” Hawaii has had this summer, plus elevated sea levels.

The erosion is the worst that Everson has seen in 10 years of monitoring the beach, he said.

“What happens is a lot more wave energy approaches the shoreline,” Eversole said. “It’s allowed to run up much higher and cause more erosion that it normally would.”

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