• Lis Richardson

Kamaole Beaches have 'Working Class' Dunes

Published 1/3/20

Some sand dunes are made for “show” and some are made for “go”.  Our sand dunes in South Maui are often made for “go”.  They come or go either in preparation for a storm or wave event or in recovery from such an event.

Mother Nature cuts into existing sand dunes and takes sand off-shore in preparation for a storm.  This process adds volumes of dune sand in shallow water so that large waves can break further away from the shoreline as a form of beach protection.   After the storm event passes that same sand is again washed onshore by smaller waves that drop the sand on the beach where it dries and blows again onto the high water dunes.  That cycle is repeated many times at a beach and often the same sand is used over and over in the process.

Some sand dunes are made for “show”.   Left to nature, they are stable and often stately. Many of these old dunes, including some on Maui, are centuries old.  Some have grown into small sand mountains.  These sand dunes also need protection for both their historical value and for the value of the property they often protect.

In South Maui, our sand dunes work for a living.  Our beaches often are too narrow to have any long- term mountain-sized dunes.  Our Kihei sand dunes might not be world-class in size, but they work for a living and they deserve our protection.