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Disappearing Waikiki beach prompts sand replenishment project — and calls for better fix

It’s a band-aid fix for erosion concerns but it’s not yet clear what the long-term plan will entail.

Posted on April 3, 2024

A sand replenishment project for Waikiki is in the works as concerns of beach erosion grow, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources says.

It’s a Band-aid fix for erosion concerns, but it’s not yet clear what the long-term plan will entail.

Waikiki Beach from The Royal Hawaiian down to the Honolulu Zoo is a wide beach, but turn the other way facing Ewa and most of the beach is gone, taken by coastal erosion.

”I definitely noticed it more down this side, especially when you go past the break wall right there it just dropped off to nothing,” said one visitor from Australia.

To many, it’s more than a public safety hazard.

Outrigger Hospitality Group President Jeff Wagoner says there are ripple effects.

”Think about Waikiki in general, if there’s no beach, then they are going to Lanikai, they are going to Kailua, and that’s not the intent of tourism, is to have them all over the island. It’s to keep them in the resort districts,” said Wagoner.

Wagoner says in the long-term, he wants the state to put in another groin, like the one near The Royal Hawaiian Hotel built in 2020.

But, state Rep. Adrian Tam says he’s unsure if groins are the right solution.

“It needs significant funding,” said Tam. “I don’t know where I am with supporting the groins because it could have significant environmental impacts.”

In 2021, the state proposed five new groins to create four separate beach areas from the Outrigger Reef down to the Sheraton Waikiki.

The DLNR said it’s still working on an environmental impact statement, and couldn’t confirm the final proposal.

They added that for now, it plans to conduct a small-scale beach restoration project using sand recovered from a catamaran channel on the shoreline fronting several Waikiki hotels.

No word yet on when that project will start.


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