• Lis Richardson

Kona Storm and High Surf Events

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

On Jan. 3, 2015 we had a strong Kona storm and there have been high tides and surf off and on since. We have dodged a strong Kona storm for quite a few years. This one did considerable damage around the island, including in South Maui. Due to the storm, much of our dune and beach sand was moved off shore and will slowly return with more normal tide cycles. There was no damage to any of the ramps and boardwalks and we are very grateful for that.

The Parks Supervisor asked that we reinforce the ramps with sand bags and that was done at all 3 ADA ramps. The sandbags also make it easier for the public to access the beach. Volunteers monitor and readjust the sandbags on a daily basis during the high surf events where the ocean easily tosses around those 60-80 pound bags! Special thanks to the Parks Supervisor and department for all of their support and for the great teamwork during events such as these and throughout the year.

We also met with the UH SeaGrant agent at Kalepolepo just north of the Whale Sanctuary and evaluated the condition of the steep erosion scarp on the frontal dune. This storm has confirmed our commitment to the UH SeaGrant principles of dune management and dune restoration. The healthy sand dunes in South Maui served us well during this storm. We all can take some credit for our work to expand and protect our dunes and beaches. Mahalo to all that have worked on those efforts. Kona storms like this one are the ones we prepare for.

Tech Notes.....

another tip from UH Sea Grant- -don’t trim back or damage those matted beach morning glory roots and vines that often hang over the face of the scarp after the storm, they will capture the first blowing sand and will help the dune in the rebuilding process.