Sunset Beach Dune Restoration Project utilizing private public partnership
Project involving numerous city agencies, community groups, and local non-profits for erosion mitigation
News Release from City and County of Honolulu, August 15, 2018
Sunset Beach (Paumalū) – Beginning today, a project forged through a private public partnership aims to restore the sand dune at a popular North Shore beach which experienced severe beach erosion last winter.
Sunset Beach Park is one of the North Shore’s most heavily used beaches. Impacts from large surf, foot erosion, and other environmental factors created a public safety concern in December 2017 after severe erosion undermined the asphalt bicycle path, threatened public facilities, and destabilized shoreline vegetation.
Immediately following those events portions of the bike path were removed or relocated, access to the impacted area was restricted, parking limitations were implemented, undermined trees were removed, and shoreline facilities such as the lifeguard tower were relocated.
Now a coalition of government, community members, businesses, and non-profit organizations has adopted a proposal for short-term mitigation of beach erosion to help reduce the risk of additional damage to the shoreline and minimize potential public safety hazards.
That six-part plan calls for:
- Removal of the damaged portion of the bicycle path
- Sand pushing to rebuild the dune
- Planting native coastal plants on the rebuilt dune
- Designating beach access pathways to mitigate foot erosion
- Installing access features to protect the dune within those pathways
- Fencing and signage requesting usage of pathways and respect for the dune restoration
The removal of the damaged portion of the bicycle path is scheduled to begin today, with the sand pushing following next week.
The project is a collaborative effort between numerous organizations, including: the North Shore Community Land Trust, University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program, World Surf League, North Shore Outdoor Circle, community members from the North Shore, the State DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands and the City and County of Honolulu. A special mahalo to the North Shore Community Land Trust for their volunteer efforts and contributions to this project.
While this project was made possible thanks to the coordination of many organizations, its success also depends on members of the public contributing to the preservation of the restored dune. This includes remaining out of designated restoration areas and utilizing the marked pathways to access the beach.
“We hope this collaborative effort helps to give the community a sense of ownership in helping to combat the effects of climate change and sea level rise,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “Projects like these demonstrate the kind of dedication that is needed on multiple levels to help address our increasingly changing environment.”
Longer term policies and solutions for addressing climate-change driven sea level rise and coastal erosion are now a clear concern for all of the partners. A Resilience Strategy for the Island of Oʻahu will address some of these climate adaptation issues when it is complete in early 2019. Mayor Caldwell issued a directive for all departments to begin integrating climate change into their daily decisions, and the state Climate Commission issued recommendations in December, 2017.
“We appreciate the contributions and foresight of all the partners on this dune restoration project to help protect this beach area,” said Chief Resilience Officer Josh Stanbro. “In order to continue to have beaches on Oʻahu in the face of a rising ocean, we need to give our natural shorelines a chance to breath. Reducing the amount of foot traffic and these mitigation efforts will help slow the erosion.”
SA: Sunset Beach dune restoration could be a model for preserving Oahu’s coast