POSTED: 3 December 2006 - 5:00pm HST

East Side Shoreline retreat unexplained

Beach pavilion poised to fall into ocean has been undercut by 30' of retreating shoreline in last 6 months

by Jonathan Jay on 3 December 2006

In the image below (from GoogleEarth) centered on old Kapa'a town, the area of significant erosion is in two lobes, directly makai of the Kapa'a Park soccer fields on the right side of the image.

This shot was taken three to five years ago. the present day coast has retreated as much as 25'-30' feet within the last 6-10 months. The area at the south end of the bay is a highly damaged seawall that has been in this condition for at least two years.

A closer view of the eroded area shows the extent of damage to public infrastructure along the beach.

Note that in the center right a beach pavilion has been undercut by the retreating shoreline. See the image at the top of this article. Note the stumps of ironwood trees in that photo that used to protect the shore.

Below is another image showing the devastation. In the center is an abandoned waterline that used to service the pavilion beyond and provide fresh water for beach goers. On the right is a tipped over concrete BBQ grill that has been abandoned to the encroaching ocean.

Finally, is an image of a new pavilion near a seawall in the same area. Will the encroaching sea claim this new infrastructure as well?

It is not clear what has accelerated beach erosion on this area of the east coast. It could be new jetty work or the new pedestrian bridge work that was recently completed. In any case, this rate of beach erosion (as high as 30 feet per year) calls into question the wisdom of investing public funds so close to so high a rate of shoreline retreat.