Powerful winter waves damage project aimed at slowing coastal erosion

Powerful winter waves damage project aimed at slowing coastal erosion

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The monster swell that rolled in Monday damaged a project designed to slow coastal erosion on Oahu’s North Shore.

The powerful winter waves washed away hundreds of Native Hawaiian plants and the hard work of volunteers at Shark’s Cove.

Malama Pupukea-Waimea is now organizing an emergency cleanup.

“We have some erosion logs or erosion socks that are filled with mulch that help to hold back any erosion from rain, those got twisted and mangled. They’re all stuck all over the place,” said Jenny Yagodich, the nonprofit group’s director of educational programs.

The hazardous surf also damaged bamboo fences and thousands of feet of irrigation line.

Malama-Pupukea Waimea launched the coastal restoration project four years ago to stop sediment from covering the coral reef in the marine life conservation district.

Volunteers removed invasive plants and put in about 12,000 native ones. The organization started phase four this past summer to cover the remaining shoreline along Shark’s Cove.

“The erosion gets into the water, settles onto the coral, and it actually hinders coral growth and coral reproduction,” said Yagodich.

The group suffered a similar setback two years ago and learned which native plants were the best to use.

“We get pohinahina, which is like a vine that’s growing down, so we planted them kind of high on the slope and they’re growing down and doing it’s job holding the soil back,” said Frank Yagodich, a member of the nonprofit.

The group hopes to get back on track with the help of volunteers at a cleanup at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

Volunteers should gather at the Kahuku-end of Shark’s Cove Beach Park. People must wear covered shoes. The group will provide gloves.

“We do it because we care about the place so even though we watched lots of young plants get ripped out and we think back to even little keiki helping us plant them, it shows them and it teaches them a lesson about what it means to be resilient,” Yagodich said.

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