Privately Funded Beach Restoration Efforts Help Sugar Cove | refill news, sports, jobs

Sugar Cove Beach is pictured earlier this month. A beach restoration effort spanning nearly three decades has brought in 15,000 to 20,000 tons of sand to rebuild the beach. Photo courtesy of DLNR

A privately funded beach reclamation effort has brought nearly 20,000 tons of sand to Spreckelsville’s Sugar Cove over the course of nearly three decades.

Sugar Cove Condominiums, a complex of 14 homeowners who live adjacent to the beach, has poured millions of dollars into sand filling the beach.

“Originally, the community just wanted to protect their water sports access,” Rich Salem, president of the Sugar Cove Association of Apartment Owners, said Thursday in a news release from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. “We later realized how valuable the beach is as a resource, not just for access but also as a common good. In over 20 years, we have put in a total of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of sand to rebuild the beach after erosion events and winter storms.”

The association used to have a sand supply on Maui, but recently had to ship DLNR-approved sand from Oahu.

“We figure that with our stockpile we can probably feed sand for another 10 years in hopes of establishing balance or stasis.” Said Salem. “It depends on controlling the wave energy on the west side of Pocket Beach.”

The homeowners consulted with coastal specialists from Sea Engineering Inc., as well as experts from the DLNR Office of Coastal Conservation and the University of Hawaii Sea Grant program.

“In the 1930s-1960s the beach was so wide, we have pictures of six-man canoes, people picnicking and enjoying a wild, sane beach where you could almost walk to Baldwin Beach.” said Chris Conger of Sea Engineering. “Chronic erosion began affecting this entire coast more than 50 years ago.”

Fighting the loss of the beach and the prospect of one day ending up without sand, the homeowners and the experts are exploring the possibility of supporting a natural rock ledge on the west side, according to the press release.

The homeowners continue to work with their advisors and the DLNR to explore the science of incorporating a natural looking ledge to protect the beach and also improve the underlying beaches while continuing to explore sand sources.

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