SOS – Save our Sand.
Maui has experienced significant loss of beachfront in the last few decades and the problem is getting worse. The causes are not fully understood. But there is agreement that beach nourishment by sand replenishment is the best way to slow the loss of sand from our beaches. Shoreline armoring just shifts the erosion to the neighboring beaches and shoreline.
The two local sources for replacement sand are, mining sand from inland sites, or dredging off-shore areas and pumping a wet slurry of sand-laden seawater back onto the beach. Inland sand mining is cheaper than dredging sand from the seafloor. I have heard that the sand from dunes near Wailuku is mined at a rate of more than 300,000 tons a year, and is mostly shipped to Honolulu to be used in the manufacture of concrete. It is estimated that at the current rate of extraction that Maui’s supplies of inland sand will run out in 5-7 years. Maui needs to keep all of its own supply of replenishment sand. Sooner or later Maui will need this local supply of sand for its own uses including, replenishing the beaches here. When we run out of local sand stocks, we will have to start importing sand from elsewhere at a much higher price. We need our beaches for recreation and to stabilize the shorefront homes and other buildings that would otherwise be consumed by the sea. Please spare a thought for the plight of our beautiful beaches and save our sand before it is too late.
Sand Export is Accelerating: The rate of sand export is accelerating and now at least 96 of these barges per year take Maui sand to Oahu, that is about two of these barge fulls per week. *look closely and you can see the back end of a semi-truck on the barge unloading a full load of sand. It is estimated that Maui is losing over 2 million tons of sand that are being shipped out to Oahu each year.