S.C.R. NO.









Requesting A COORDINATED COMPREHENSIVE COASTAL POLICY to protect hawaii's coastal resources.



WHEREAS, studies show that nearly 25 percent, or 17 miles, of sandy beaches on the island of Oahu have been severely narrowed or lost over the past 70 years due to shoreline armoring; and

WHEREAS, the island of Maui has experienced beach loss or significant narrowing on nearly 30 percent, or 9 miles of shoreline; and

WHEREAS, beaches play a critical role in the prevention of coastal erosion and flooding by serving as a natural buffer to prevent property damage from storm waves and undermining due to the retreat of the shoreline; and

WHEREAS, beaches also form the backbone of Hawaii's visitor industry, which constitutes a large part of the State's economy; and

WHEREAS, beaches are also essential to the people of Hawaii for ecological, spiritual, recreational, and cultural reasons; and

WHEREAS, coastal management policies in Hawaii have not prevented the loss of miles of sandy beach and coastal land to the ravages of erosion; and

WHEREAS, a commitment to coastal resource protection takes on added importance given global predictions for a continued, possibly accelerated, rise in sea levels and the ongoing, intensive development along Hawaii's shoreline; and

WHEREAS, Hawaii's coastal resource managers are faced with the daunting prospect of managing the effects of erosion while simultaneously monitoring and regulating high-risk coastal development that often affects the shoreline; and

WHEREAS, in 1999, the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) adopted the Coastal Erosion Management Plan (COEMAP) as an internal policy for managing coastal issues, including erosion and development in Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, COEMAP's scope is general, and there is a need to formulate more focused policies to aid decision-making in a variety of coastal management areas, including setbacks, shoreline hardening, and sand management; and

WHEREAS, section 205A-43(a), Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), establishes setback distances from the certified shoreline at not less than 20 feet and not more than 40 feet inland from the shoreline; and

WHEREAS, section 205A-45(a), HRS, allows the counties through rules adopted pursuant to chapter 91, HRS, or ordinance, to require that shoreline setbacks lines be established at distances greater than established by statute; and

WHEREAS, Maui County recently established new coastal construction setbacks based on an annual erosion rate; and

WHEREAS, erosion is a serious problem nationally, other state governments are looking for comprehensive approaches to erosion management to develop effective solutions, and Hawaii is ready to take a leadership role in this regard; and

WHEREAS, past experience has shown that the use of uniform coastal construction setbacks does not properly account for variable erosion hazards along the shore and often puts coastal development and the beach at high risk of damage and loss; and

WHEREAS, another significant environmental problem facing Hawaii is the impact of existing and future shoreline structures (e.g. revetments, seawalls, groins, and breakwaters) on our beaches; and

WHEREAS, such structures impound sand, disrupt the movement of sand, or both, and can be a major cause of beach narrowing and loss throughout the state; and

WHEREAS, alternative erosion control measures such as increased shoreline setbacks, relocation, beach nourishment, dune restoration, and temporary sandbags exist and are a viable alternative to shoreline hardening; and

WHEREAS, shoreline hardening and setbacks are problems that must be addressed simultaneously and over the long term; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) have organized a Coastal Erosion Committee composed of representatives of the State, counties, federal agencies, and the public, who are working together to address coastal concerns, which will aid in the development of statewide coastal policies; and

WHEREAS, DLNR has organized a Coastal Issues Ad Hoc Group comprised of representatives from DLNR, the Coastal Zone Management Program of the Office of Planning, Department of Health, and Department of Transportation (DOT), to work together on the state level to address issues of coastal concern; and

WHEREAS, DLNR is formulating a statewide policy for BLNR to consider, with the participation and agreement of the respective county governments, which will address shoreline hardening, setbacks, and overall beach protection; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, the House of Representatives concurring, that DLNR is requested to take the lead, and in cooperation with appropriate state agencies and each of the counties, to coordinate a comprehensive coastal policy to protect Hawaii's coastal resources that is to be considered for adoption by BLNR; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DLNR submit its findings and recommendations to the Legislature no later than 20 days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2005; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Chairman of BLNR, directors of DBEDT and DOT, and the mayors of the four counties.






Report Title:

Requesting the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Coastal Zone Management Program of the Office of Planning, the Department of Transportation and the respective County governments to work together to protect Hawaii's coastal resources by coordinating a statewide policy on shoreline hardening and setbacks.