LIHU‘E — The county is considering four possible courses of action to address erosion on the multi-use Ke Ala Hele Makalae path for a section at Lydgate Park.
Flash flooding in late March brought about seven inches of rain overnight, creating heavy erosion eating away portions of the path near the bathrooms and along Kaha Lani Resort, and in some spots exposing waterlines and the underside of the path.
The flooding was so great in March, it resulted in Mayor Derek Kawakami signing an emergency proclamation for the flood event at the beginning of April, and President Donald Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration in July for the rain event.
Following the flooding this spring, the county assessed the erosion damage and placed safety barriers and cones along the multi-use path. The path is currently diverted onto Kaha Lani Resort land.
The Department of Parks and Recreation Director Patrick Porter and Deputy Director Wallace Rezentes briefed the Kaua‘i County Council with options on Wednesday.
Options range from backfilling erosion with existing sand and utilizing sandbags are temporary stabilization to redirecting the path around the soccer field or discontinuing the path in the affected area. Management at Kaha Lani Resort is willing to consider the option of allowing the county to move the path slightly onto its property permanently, which seems like one of the most cost-effective options.
Parks and Recreation is in discussion with the county’s Planning Department, a University of Hawai’i Sea Grant agent evaluating options, and anticipates moving talks with the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources’s Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands regarding the next steps for the path.
The county is planning drainage, erosion and hydrological surveys in the area to determine mitigation solutions to lessen of concentrated water flows, like retention ponds or swales. The county will also need to consider sea level rise when going forward with new plans. During the initial planning and construction of the path, a coastal erosion study was not conducted. Erosion is caused by both heavy rain as well as ocean swells causing coastal erosion.
Other areas of the multi-use path have faced its own erosion issues, particularly in front of Pono Kai Resort in Kapa‘a. There, county workers have dredged sand from the nearby boat ramp to fill in eroded areas.
Edie DeFries walks the path twice a week in Kapa‘a. She said she’s hoping the county government can do something quickly because erosion is a problem that will only get bigger with time.
Ke Ala Hele Makalae is envisioned to be a 20-mile path from Kaua‘i’s Eastside, from Niumalu to Anahola. The first two phases of the project have been completed in Lydgate Park and from Kapa‘a to Kealia.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.