Lines in the Sand

Sandbag revetment, Ha`ena, Kaua`i

It’s been two decades since homeowners on the north shore of Kaua‘i installed a sandbag revetment to protect their lots from coastal erosion.

As we report in this month’s cover story, the county last year decided to stop extending the emergency permit issued at the time of installation and forced the owners to obtain a certified shoreline, which is necessary if they hope to ever get the revetment properly permitted.

The state’s finding that the structure lies entirely on the public beach, however, has halted all progress. More than a year later, the landowners’ appeal is still pending.

We know that these agencies are dealing with many pressing issues. But the presence of an “emergency” revetment some 20 years after it was erected undermines whatever confidence the public may have that institutions tasked with protecting coastal access and public beaches are living up to their responsibilities.

Also in this issue, we report on allegations that revisions in 2014 to the Kaua`i shoreline setback ordinance harmed, rather than helped it. We detail the arguments made by the Hawai`i Supreme Court in its recent decision in the aquarium fish collection permit case and we report on the latest stock assessment for bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific, as well as the latest filings in the ongoing contested case hearing regarding interim intream flow standards in East Maui. Finally, we include an interview with the guest speaker at our fundraiser this month, climate scientist Abby Frazier.