(Not an actual photo from dune restoration efforts) Image courtesy Flickr-Frank Hamm

A coastal dune restoration program at the southern end of Kamaole I Beach Park in Kihei is anticipated to begin this week and last up to three weeks. Coastal dune restoration is an increasing priority as extensive sand dunes on Maui are a key part of a healthy beach system. Vegetated dunes trap windblown sand, store excess sand reserves, and serve as natural erosion buffers. They also provide habitat to many native and endangered plants, insects, and shorebirds.

The restoration will improve degraded conditions associated with intense use and high wave erosion. “Maui has benefited from a long-standing and very successful program of dune restoration,” said Tara Owens, coastal processes specialist with the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant Program. “This project is another good example of dune management as a proactive measure in the face of coastal erosion and sea level rise.”

Sand will be transported from the Kihei Boat Ramp and will be placed within the dune restoration area at Kamaole I Beach Park. The project takes advantage of beach sand that was dredged and stockpiled late last year from the Kihei Boat Ramp by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. It is crucial that the dredged sand be replaced within the same beach system in the South Maui region to mitigate sand losses and beach erosion.

The project is being carried out by Maui County in partnership with Hawai‘i Sea Grant and the South Maui Volunteers. The project will include sand placement, re-designation of shoreline access pathways, installation of dune signage, and re-establishment of native dune plants.

The project will temporarily affect vehicular and pedestrian traffic with intermittent closure of the roadway and sidewalk for truck access. Impacts will occur along South Kihei Road, south of the restroom to the southern boundary of the park, from 7am to 4pm Monday through Friday. Motorists are asked to use alternate routes to South Kihei Road, like Pi‘ilani Highway or Liloa Drive.

The project is not expected to affect public access to the beach park’s restrooms or showers. For more information, call 270-7855 or email don.couch@co.maui.hi.us.

Suzanne Kayian is a Maui-based writer, public relations specialist and social media zealot. With more than 20 years experience, Suzanne has contributed to a variety of publications ranging from local independent...

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