The $2.5 million project would haul thousands of cubic yards from offshore deposits
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2010
The most popular beach in Hawaii is due for a partial makeover.
State officials plan to restore a portion of Waikiki Beach by taking sand from nearby shoals.
The estimated $2.5 million project would widen the 1,700-foot-long beach by about 37 feet between the Royal Hawaiian Hotel concrete groin and the Kuhio Beach crib wall.
Officials also plan to remove two deteriorating concrete groins at the east end.
The state Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands has completed its environmental assessment and plans to apply for government permits.
The project, scheduled to start in January or February, would widen the beach to its 1985 width.
Coastal lands administrator Samuel J. Lemmo said recycling the sand is cheaper and kinder to the environment than bringing in new sand.
"It's a more sustainable approach," Lemmo said. "Hopefully, this project will facilitate future projects."
Save Our Surf spokesman George Downing said he supports the method of replenishment because it is taking sand from areas that have become shallow and changed the surf in some places.
In the past, Downing has opposed importing sand and continuing to add to sediment in offshore areas, burying reef life and changing the nature of surfing areas.
One of the areas where the sand removal is planned is between surfing areas known as Queen's and Canoes, Downing said.
He said the removal will help to restore a channel that has been covered with sand from the beaches.
In the past, sand has been imported from other areas to replenish the eroding beach and contributed to additional sediment in offshore areas.
State officials plan to periodically perform regular beach maintenance by using nearshore sand.
The $2.5 million for the project includes $1.5 million from the state and $500,000 from Kyo-ya Hawaii, owner of several nearby hotels.
Lemmo said his office is seeking funds for the remaining $500,000.
The project plans to recover up to 24,000 cubic yards of sand from deposits located 1,500 to 3,000 feet offshore at a depth of 10 to 20 feet.
The sand would be pumped to a dewatering site in an enclosed basin within the eastern Kuhio Beach crib walls and then spread to the rest of the beach.
Officials also want to conduct a sand replenishment of 12,000 cubic yards in 10 years, restoring the beach to the 1985 shoreline.
The project is larger than a prior recycling effort in 2006-07, when state officials recovered 10,000 cubic yards of sand from the sea and pumped it onto the shore within the Kuhio Beach crib walls.