Beach erosion is Zoom meeting topic

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A toppled beach heliotrope tree frames a couple in the keiki pond Thursday at Morgan’s Pond at Lydgate Park in Wailua. The tree was a victim of a recent surge, after its base was eroded by wave action.

WAILUA — “It’s too bad we lost that tree,” said a lifeguard on duty at the Lydgate Park tower Thursday. “The tree gave a lot of shade.”

Located on the windward side of the keiki pond at Morgan’s Ponds, the beach heliotrope succumbed to beach erosion during the latest surge that produced large north and west swells hitting the island’s coastlines.

Cleanup of the fallen tree will probably rest with the Cushnie Construction crews, which started a $385,900 debris-removal project Monday.

“Have you noticed changes at your favorite beach, and wonder about the cause?” asked the Kaua‘i Climate Action Forum. “Is beach erosion threatening your home, your surf spot or other treasured resource.”

The Zoom meeting announcement continued by noting that 70% of Kaua‘i’s beaches are eroding, and over the last century 3.7 miles of beach have been lost. This is further demonstrated by the nearby coastline at the Wailua Park fronting the Kuhio Highway Bryan J. Baptiste Bridge spanning the Wailua River.

“The water is up to the path on sections of Ke Ala Hele Makalae,” said a Lydgate Park beach-goer, looking at the taped-off, fallen tree. “And look at what’s washed away near the Pono Kai. They’ve cleaned up most of that.”

Sponsored by Zero Waste Kaua‘i, Climate Action Coalition Kaua‘i and Surfrider Kaua‘i, the Kaua‘i Climate Action Forum will focus on “Our Changing Beaches, Our Changing Climate,” with an appearance by Ruby Pap, the coastal land use extension agent with Hawai‘i Sea Grant program.

Pap has been based on Kaua‘i for the past eight years with the County of Kaua‘i Planning Department, serving as a liaison between scientists, government agencies, non-government organizations and the community to ensure that current scientific information is made available to the Kaua‘i community and readily accessible for coastal-zone planning, management and educational activities.

The short presentation and community discussion, including a question-and-answer segment, will take place Wednesday, Jan. 13, from 6 to 7 p.m. via Zoom.

Registration is required to participate, and can be done at bit.ly/zwkforum5.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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