August 4, 2021

Public has until July 23 to comment on proposed Waikiki Beach improvement plan

Jun. 17—For the Hawaiian other folks, Waikiki used to be “a land liked ” for its streams and comes, its kalo loi and coconut groves, the fish in its ocean and fishponds, and “its superb surf, ” stories a draft environmental have an effect on observation for the state’s proposal to additional expand a coastline that has been hardened by means of sea partitions and groins because the early twentieth century.

The draft EIS launched closing week helps a $12 million Waikiki Seashore Growth and Repairs Program, proposed by means of the state Division of Land and Herbal Sources in partnership with the Waikiki Seashore Particular Growth District Affiliation, for the beach from the Kapahulu Groin to the Ewa finish of Citadel DeRussy Seashore.

The general public has till July 23 to remark at the proposal that, supporters say, is had to save the resorts and seaside sands of Waikiki from coastal erosion because of the wash of the waves, exacerbated by means of sea degree upward push ; some expect tourism revenues would shrink by means of greater than $2.2 billion a 12 months if Waikiki Seashore had been to vanish.

Critics worry the venture may just degrade Waikiki’s mythical surf, hurt reef habitat for fish and foraging spaces for endangered monk seals and inexperienced sea turtles, and spoil the smooth, haunting atmosphere at its center, the place historical coconut timber mark the websites the place Hawaiian chiefs as soon as lived and freshwater streams and comes entered the ocean.

Possibly maximum arguable is the plan to construct 3, 200-foot-long, T-head groins and a three.8-acre seaside out over the reef from the ocean wall fronting the Halekulani Lodge, and so as to add spurs to the Royal Hawaiian and Citadel DeRussy groins on both sides for the an identical of 5, T-head groins, meant to increase the lifetime of the proposed new seashores by means of trapping and slowing the erosion in their sands.

A dominant chorus all the way through the record’s 1, 100-some pages is that Waikiki’s coastline is already “considerably engineered “, thus extra engineering isn’t going to make vital have an effect on to what stays of its local species, archaeological and cultural websites, and attractiveness.

The draft contains public feedback won at the previous, EIS public understand record, “in addition to our responses to these feedback, ” mentioned Sam Lemmo, administrator for DLNR’s Place of work of Conservation and Coastal Lands.

“Maximum respondents for (the Halekulani sector ) preferred the proposed movements, noting that they’re going to create a brand new seaside for Waikiki the place one does now not exist now, ” the draft stories ; lately the sphere accommodates most effective two, seasonal slivers of seaside, wedged in opposition to the ocean wall.

However some commented the sand dredging and filling may impact the waves offshore of the Halekulani sea wall ; in entrance of the Royal Hawaiian Lodge, they mentioned, sand from previous seaside nourishment tasks has drifted into the surf zone and settled in and round Canoes, in order that its former rapid, steep, right-breaking wave “not breaks the similar, ” and “now the left is extra like a windward Oahu seaside smash ” fairly than the blank, lengthy, peeling waves Waikiki is prized for.

Others frightened the T-faces of the groins would generate mirrored waves “that may commute seaward into the surf breaks at Populars, Paradise, and Threes, disrupting the wave faces for surfers, ” and argued “the unique seashores right here had been seasonal, forming most effective right through the wintry weather and disappearing right through the summer season, and the groins would block the herbal lateral motion of sand.”

Then again, in keeping with benthic and bathymetry research, the draft EIS concludes that backwash from the T-head groins could have little impact on currents or wave heights and shapes.

The record additional says that not one of the fish species seen within the sector are endangered or prized by means of fishermen, and concludes the enhancements are “now not expected to lead to any vital long-term degradation of our surroundings or lack of habitat ” however might in reality create extra and higher fish habitat and surfaces for turtle-sustaining algae.

It recognizes a not unusual fear shared by means of all respondents is that public get admission to to and alongside the coastline be ensured.

Then again, even if it lists keeping up public coastline get admission to, which is remitted by means of state legislation, as one of the vital venture targets, the draft EIS fails to incorporate plans for making improvements to the seriously eroded, wave-washed public walkway atop the ocean wall, two stretches of which were closed, or for making it compliant with the American citizens with Disabilities Act.

Cultural considerations had been additionally expressed by means of commenters referring to imaginable disturbances to ancestral burials, fishing, limu collecting and the therapeutic historically practiced within the shallows of Kawehewehe, now the Halekulani channel.

Commenters additionally protested additional overdevelopment and urbanization, interrupted viewsheds and particularly “the lack of a Hawaiian sense of position and the texture of outdated Waikiki.”

The draft EIS mentioned very best practices could be seen with reference to imaginable archaeological websites.

The record, ready by means of Sea Engineering, which would be the contractor for the venture if licensed, estimates it’s going to take 500 days to finish the primary, engineering section, which contains including the groins and creating a segmented breakwater at Kuhio Seashore Ewa swim basin, pumping sand from the Kuhio Seashore Diamond Head Basin, including extra sand periodically to the Royal Hawaiian Seashore in addition to fronting the Halekulani, and transferring sand from the Ewa finish of Citadel DeRussy Seashore to its eroded, Diamond Head finish.

Total, the draft EIS supplies a wealthy useful resource of Waikiki historical past and marine science, together with many images.

It may be learn on-line at or in print on the Waikiki-Kapahulu library ; feedback must be emailed to waikiki @seaengineering.com by means of July 23.

There can be a public assembly, to be introduced, Lemmo mentioned.