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Hawai‘i Coastal Hazard and Mitigation Guidebook

As a coastal homeowner, have you ever wondered where to get technical, yet easy to understand information about minimizing erosion concerns on your property? Or as a contractor have you thought about how vulnerable your building is to a hurricane? If you have, then the new book by Dennis Hwang, Hawaii Coastal Hazard Mitigation Guidebook, is a must read. At 242 pages with 13 summary tables and 80 color figures displaying the geographical variability of hazard risk in Hawai‘i, the guidebook is an informative, technical resource and an interesting read.

Designed for a wide and varied audience from planners and architects to homeowners and government agencies, the guidebook complements the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Coastal Construction Manual with a special emphasis on land use planning and siting. The purpose of the guidebook is as a resource to reduce the risk to coastal development by planning for natural hazards such as erosion, flooding, tsunamis and hurricanes.

Hwang says the guidebook provides scientific and technically based standards for hazard mitigation and then gives recommendations for implementation that minimize burden to the regulated community. The thrust of the guidebook is on implementing the measures through guidance, industry standards, policy and the use of existing regulations.

Topics covered in the guidebook include coastal and bluff erosion, flooding, wave inundation, hurricanes and tsunamis. Since the dangers for each of these hazards overlap, four hazard zones are identified that take into account how these hazards might act in particular regions.

The guidebook is a useful tool for anyone interested in reducing risk from natural hazards. It was made possible with grants from the Hawai‘i Department of Land & Natural Resources, Office of Planning – Coastal Zone Management Program, University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program, and the Pacific Services Center and Coastal Services Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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