Hawaii New Coastal Land Management Plan

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Searching through the internet I came across a management plan that feels close to home to me due to conserving beaches in Hawaii. Usually the land management plans we discuss have to do with erosion on rangeland, but this plan is a different kind of erosion that causes beach loss. This plan talks about the causes, effects, goals, objectives, and management options to conserve the beaches in Hawaii. Overall, this coast management plan is talking about beach narrowing and beach loss in different islands in Hawaii.

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First of all, the management plan focuses mostly on the beaches in Oahu, Maui, Kauai which are all different islands in Hawaii that have beach loss and erosion on their lands. Each beach is owned either private landowners, public landowners, or even owned by the state of Hawaii. Private and public beach owners are both involved in the Costal Erosion Management Plan. This is also known as the COEMAP which involves community discussion and assessment of the coastal erosion in these specific areas. They use to rely on shoreline hardening which is the process of adding structures like seawalls built parallel to shore to protection to coastal communities from erosion and flooding. Instead of this infrastructure helping beach loss in Hawaii it is actually making it worse due to studies conducted in Oahu. The coastal hardening is producing impacts including increased turbulence and direct flow of sewage products into the water. Instead of keeping up this management practice that is being detrimental to the beach loss they need to change into their management practices. Hawaii has started to the COEMAP to resolve the needed to conserve beach loss and sustain these lands that have erosion.

Seawalls no longer are helping instead they made this management plan to assist in every aspect of the beach loss. Understanding the structure of the beaches can help understand what is being effected by the beach loss in Hawaii and what is needed to be done to stop this erosion. Also, knowing the vegetation on the land can greatly help understand what natural resources are in danger when the occurring beach loss is happening. The coastal zone includes a wide variety of Hawaiian Islands that includes beaches, dunes, and terraces all created on the shore. The coastal vegetation are plants that are able to sustain saline soils that have a hot surface and strong winds. Most of the vegetative includes flowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses. Some of the trees include coconut palm trees and ironwood an alien tree. There are numerous shrubs, native grasses, and beautiful flowers. The shoreline and high tide can be shown by the edge of vegetation growth occurring. The setback on Hawaii beaches is measured from the certified shoreline shown in the upper reaches of wash of waves at high tide usually shown in edge of vegetation growth. This provides baseline in measuring shoreline setbacks including issues like erosion and beach loss.

As said previously, the property of the management plan is consisted of beaches in Hawaii on the islands that have a showed erosion and beach loss that is affecting their economy and recreation. Each beach is either privately owned as well as publicly owned by someone or the government. Each person who owns their area of the beach is the one who manages it. The private owners are usually families that have had generations on certain costal land. By these costal lands can include a range of things from roadways, harbors, to even shops, and airports. All of these people are coming together to involve themselves in the COEMAP so financially and environmentally they do not lose any more of their land. They are all coming together with the public comments to help conserve the beaches that have erosion occurring on their land. In general, the citizens of Hawaii are involved to be part of the feedback and resolution to this ongoing problem. All the people who own these lands and the public will come together to discuss the erosion problem and to communicate the change needed of past management practices.

“Article X of the Hawaii State Constitution mandates the state to conserve and protect Hawaii’s natural resources for the benefit of the present and future generations” (add in citation page 11). The Department of Land and Natural resources initiated that there must be a comprehensive plan put in place due to the beach loss and erosion in Hawaii’s coastal areas. This department states there must be a plan to promote conservation and restoration of these beaches due to regulatory requirements. This is when the Costal Erosion Management Plan (COEMAP) provides an outline of the public commentary, discussions, goals, assessments, alternatives and overall how to mitigate the beach loss. There needs to be management action to restore the beaches and improve the land’s quality. When trying to figure out what the best option is there needs to be a group discussion including all participants. As well as knowing past management strategies and what efforts are needed to improve erosion management. Hawaii relies on public involvement and education effort within the community to get the citizens aware and able to help. Since the coastal erosion management plan is part of a federal project it requires the NEPA process.

The trigger is due to environmental impacts and making this project requires permits that involves this process. The National Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) requires intervention when a part of the act is a cause of concern for a specific state. For example, the act will require Hawaii to make a plan that assesses the effects of beach loss while learning how to lessen the damage with new management actions and restoration. There were laws and policies listed in the document that caused Hawaii to assess the damage and create a new management plan. The Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program was put in place for land use and zoning laws. This Program failed due to not recognizing shoreline dynamics when putting in these laws and policies. Usually zoning tools prevent erosion, but this program did not do that. The problems occurring now on Hawaii beaches could have been avoided if they properly did the zoning plan. Not only was this plan ineffective, but Hawaii never put in place a conservation program for these beaches unlike other states due to the lack of involvement federally. Now Hawaii will put in an effective shoreline management using different tools and techniques.

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Hawaii New Coastal Land Management Plan. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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