In West Maui, a disappearing shoreline and few long-term solutions

Scientists say West Maui is one of the regions hardest hit by coastal erosion.
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 6:37 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 26, 2022 at 9:09 PM HST
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WEST MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Scientists say West Maui is one of the regions hardest hit by coastal erosion — and many residents are growing increasingly alarmed by the impacts.

At the Maui Eldorado in Kaanapali, a beach cabana is at the tip of the ocean.

“Normally, we will have about 40 to 50 yards of sand in front of the cabana,” said Maui Eldorado Association General Manager Mike Sands.

READ: Shoreline study erosion maps on Maui

“But that large swell that we had in July washed out all the beaches here on the west side.”

A large south swell rocked Maui’s west shore this past summer. Waves smashed into a restaurant in Lahaina and several beaches have not been the same since.

Last month, iwi kupuna were found in front of the Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club in Kaanapali. This past weekend, parts of a sidewalk and trees fell into ocean at Kaanapali Beach after a high tide on Friday.

The state is planning a restoration project for the area.

The Kaanapali Beach Restoration Project plans to transport approximately 75,000 cubic yards of sand. That is almost equivalent to 23 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Farther west in Kahana, there are erosion issues as well.

“Definitely we’re losing beach. Unfortunately losing coastline,” said longtime Kahana resident Tony Menze. “Slowly but surely, decreasing. In every big swell, decreases a little bit more.”

The county is planning to realign Lower Honoapiilani Road at Kaopala Bay in Kahana.

Down the road in Napili, a new walkway is being built after the old one was in jeopardy of collapsing.

“Before, get one path over here,” said long-time Napili resident Junya Nakoa. “Used to have stairs and a shower on the side and used to go straight up to the beach. But because of the erosion, it was falling off.”