City officials say Sunset Beach dune restoration is promising
  • Thursday, December 13, 2018
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City officials say Sunset Beach dune restoration is promising

  • COURTESY CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU

    Sunset Beach suffered from a severe episode of erosion shown in this photo taken Jan. 13.

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The city said today that preliminary goals of the Sunset Beach Dune Restoration Project started over the summer have been accomplished, and that it is now in a “maintenance phase” as the North Shore’s winter swells get under way.

City officials first announced a six-part plan and private-public partnership to restore the dune at Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore in August following last winter’s episode of severe erosion. Crews removed the remaining asphalt of a bike path that had been eroded, and pushed sand to restore the dune.

Then volunteers and various groups led by the North Shore Community Land Trust planted native vegetation within the dune, and put up fences and signs notifying the public of the restoration efforts, and led education efforts on foot erosion and not walking over the dunes.

Access to the beach is now more controlled, while parking limitations were put in place.

“The North Shore community, together with the city and state, recognized the need to save Sunset Beach from further erosion and this unprecedented effort shows what can be accomplished when likeminded people work toward a common goal,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell in a news release. “With climate change and sea level rise now upon us, we can expect further challenges along Oahu’s shoreline. However, by working cooperatively we can all rise to this challenge and make a positive difference.”

The World Surf League, which is currently holding the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series of competitions on Oahu’s North Shore, also partnered with the city to raise awareness about the fragile nature of the dunes on its digital platform, which reaches millions of surf enthusiasts around the world.

WSL produced a video about the North Shore’s fragile coast, which is being shared on its Facebook page and at various community events around Oahu during the competition, according to WSL spokeswoman Lauren Rolland.

“This is the first example of a private-public partnership for a dune restoration project on a city and county beach park,” said city Department of Parks and Recreation spokesman Nathan Serota. “It’s a fantastic example of hooponopono, where really we had the government, private, community and also non-profit organizations coming together for a common cause to make our publc spaces safer and more enjoyable.”

He said private-public partnerships would likely be a model used for other city beach parks experiencing the same kind of erosion.

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