• Lis Richardson

Dredged sand needs to find its way home

Updated: Aug 8

Published in Maui News 8/2/19 Whenever the Kihei Boat Ramp is dredged, the question comes up about where best to place the dredged beach sand. Our UH Sea Grant Coastal Resource Agent tells us that dredged sand needs to be returned to the beach where it originated. She went on to explain that the Maui shoreline is divided by nature into sand cells or compartments and that each cell contains a complete budget of sand including additions (credits) and losses (debits) of sand. Just like with a household budget, if the sand credits and debits are out of balance you can get a deficit. Returning dredged sand to the beach it came from helps balance the sand budget for that sand cell. The Kihei Boat Ramp dredged sand should be returned to the dunes in beach areas in Kihei where the sand originated. That new dredged sand will then blend back gradually into the beach sand within the cell. This is a natural way to slowly return the sand to the beach and it mimics the way nature uses dune sand for storm protection. Maui beaches are eroding on average by over 0.5 feet per year, and some beaches by even more! Over time, some Kihei beaches can disappear if we don't protect our natural beach sand stockpile. Sand can become lost forever to the particular beach cell if it is not returned to that location. Let's ensure that the Kihei sand gets returned to the Kihei beaches it calls home.