Kauai’s shorelines are vulnerable to a variety of natural hazards including erosion, wave inundation, flooding, and wind. Inadequate planning and haphazard responses to coastal hazards, such as seawalls and revetments, can damage beaches and other coastal resources. In addition, development pressure along Kauai’s coastline has increased, bringing with it a growing concern from local stakeholders who seek to ensure the preservation of coastal and cultural resources.
Through a partnership with the Kauai County Planning Department, Hawaii Sea Grant seconds an extension agent to the agency. The agent provides a wide range of technical assistance to various county agencies on coastal hazard mitigation and planning. One project was a request by Kauai County to conduct a technical review of a proposed seawall extension project in Kapaa to mitigate erosion issues. After consulting with other Hawaii Sea Grant coastal hazards specialists, the agent reported that extending the seawall would accelerate coastal erosion in areas north of the wall. The alternative scenario was to continue beach nourishment activities, while pursuing other long-term options such as beach restoration and relocation of coastal infrastructure.
Based on information in the Sea Grant technical report, county staff decided against pursuing the hard-armoring approach of extending the seawall. Instead, the county continued beach maintenance activities to mitigate the current erosion problem by placing approximately 500 cubic yards of sand on the beach.