Maui News

Coastal Zone Management Bill Becomes Law, Mitigating Erosion and Rising Sea Level Threats

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Costal erosion. PC: Hawaii DLNR via County of Maui.

The Hawai‘i State Senate announced that a bill protecting Hawai‘i’s coastal ecosystems was signed into law by Gov. David Ige. The enacted legislation includes a provision to ban further construction of sea walls and coastal hardening projects.

Backers of the bill say “the convergence of dense development along shorelines, increasing landward migration of shoreline due to sea level rise and other human and natural impacts, and extensive beach loss fronting shoreline armoring necessitated the revision of existing policies and regulations.”

Research conducted during the drafting of the recently enacted legislation found:

  • 70% of Hawai‘i’s beaches are undergoing chronic sand loss and shoreline retreat;
  • more than 13 miles of beach in Hawai‘i have been completely lost to erosion fronting seawalls; and
  • with just 1.1 feet of sea level rise, miles more of beach could be lost to erosion if widespread shoreline armoring is allowed.

“The facts about the fragility of of our coastal areas are indisputible and I wanted to protect our shorelines from these inevitable threats, and ensure the safety and security of our children, while leaving a lasting legacy as a supporter of environmental legislation,” said State Senator and Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Donovan Dela Cruz.

The enacted legislation includes an important provision to ban further construction of sea walls and coastal hardening projects on beaches. Supporters of the measure say revision of these existing policies and regulations would protect beaches and other coastal environments from further degradation and reduce the exposure of shorefront communities to increasing erosion and flooding hazards caused by sea level rise.

“I would like to express my deepest appreciation to Governor Ige for signing SB2060 into law which protects our coastal areas for future generations here in Hawai‘i… I would like to express my gratitude to those in the general public who supported this legislation including the Sierra Club of Hawai‘i who agreed with the importance of taking measures now to guard against further coastal armoring and promote managed retreat alternatives where feasible,” said Senator Dela Cruz.


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