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Posted on: September 17, 2021

Maui County announces coastal resilience planning for Ma`alaea

A project to initiate a Ma`alaea Village Coastal Resilience and Erosion Management Plan is getting underway, the County of Maui Department of Planning announced.

This project seeks a proactive and holistic approach to manage worsening coastal erosion at Ma`alaea Bay Beach by exploring the feasibility of coastal resilience strategies, including erosion mitigation options and relocation of threatened structures. The project area spans from Ma`alaea Harbor to Haycraft Park.

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 21, contractors from Moffat & Nichol in Honolulu will conduct a sand resource study offshore of Ma`alaea Harbor. The study aims to identify, characterize and quantify possible sources of offshore sand that could support beach restoration options for Ma`alaea Bay Beach. During work, members of the public may see a small boat with instrumentation traveling back and forth in nearshore waters off of Ma`alaea.

To explore managed retreat options, contractors will be developing an analysis of the planning steps involved in the relocation of buildings and infrastructure.

High rates of historical shoreline erosion are documented for Ma`alaea Bay Beach. Condominium complexes along Hau`oli Street built close to the shoreline prior to coastal management programs are threatened by coastal hazards. Existing shoreline hardening structures are in deteriorating condition and some are scheduled for removal or limited temporary repairs.

This 12-month project is being facilitated by the County of Maui Department of Planning with technical assistance from the University of Hawai`i Sea Grant Program and funding support from the Maui County Council.

The Ma`alaea Village Association is also providing partnership support.

This coastal-resilience community planning effort will provide next steps and proactive options for protecting at-risk properties and infrastructure as well as preserving the coastal ecosystem.

Coastal erosion in Hawaii is a continuing and worsening problem in the face of sea level rise, with 85 percent of Maui shorelines experiencing long-term erosion.

For more information, contact Erin Derrington, County of Maui Senior Shoreline Planner, at erin.derrington@co.maui.hi.us and Tara Owens, Coastal Processes and Hazards Specialist, with the University of Hawai`i Sea Grant College Program, at taram@hawaii.edu

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