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Resort Seeks Approval to Repair Tsunami Damage to Beach

May 31, 2013, 7:52 PM HST
* Updated June 3, 12:16 PM
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A South Kohala resort company wants to bring sand over from Oahu to repair a beach at Waikoloa damaged by the tsunami generated by the March 11, 2011 earthquake in Japan.

Waikoloa Development Co. said the tsunami damaged the wall around the Kuualii Fishpond and caused a breach in the beach that resulted in the loss of 9,000 cubic yards of sand.

It said that has reduced the height of a berm separating Kuualii Fishpond from Anaehoomalu Bay by more than a foot, which allows waves to wash more sediment into the pond.

A satellite image of the beach at Anaehoomalu Bay on Nov. 10, 2010. Sea Engineering Inc. photo.

A satellite image of the beach at Anaehoomalu Bay on Nov. 10, 2010. Sea Engineering Inc. photo.

According to an application for a conservation district use permit filed by Waikoloa Development, an emergency repair was done to close the breach. As a result, approximately 3,400 cubic yards of sand has returned to the beach.

But a engineering study done by a company hired by Waikoloa Developjment said the loss of sand and lowered berm has resulted in the shoreline receding along the entire beach.

And this is how the same beach looked the day after the March 11, 2011 earthquake hit Japan. Sea Engineering Inc. photo.

And this is how the same beach looked the day after the March 11, 2011 earthquake hit Japan. Sea Engineering Inc. photo.

Waikoloa Development is asking for the state’s permission to bring 5,600 cubic yards of sand over from Oahu to restore the beach to its condition before the tsunami hit.

“This section of sandy coastline has been relatively stable over the previous several decades,” said the study by Sea Engineering Inc. “This project is not intended to perturb the natural system, rather it is intended to restore it to pre-tsunami conditions.”

The sand that would be acquired from Hawaiian Cement was previously dredged from Haleiwa Harbor. It would be barged to the Big Island and trucked to Anaehoomalu Bay where it would be spread by bulldozers.

The project is expected to get underway this fall and would take about three weeks to complete.

A 30-day public comment period on the application runs until June 24.

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