Scientists: Hawaii’s beaches are shrinking
KAILUA, Hawaii (AP) – Jenn Boneza remembers when the white sandy beach near the boat ramp in her hometown was wide enough for people to build sand castles.
“It really used to be a beautiful beach,” said the 35-year-old mother of two. “And now when you look at it, it’s gone.”
What’s happening to portions of the beach in Kailua – a sunny coastal suburb of Honolulu where President Barack Obama spent his last two family vacations in the islands – is being repeated around the Hawaiian Islands.
Geologists say more than 70 percent of Kauai’s beaches are eroding while Oahu has lost a quarter of its sandy shoreline. They warn the problem is only likely to get significantly worse in coming decades as global warming causes sea levels to rise more rapidly.
“It will probably have occurred to a scale that we will have only been able to save a few places and maintain beaches, and the rest are kind of a write-off,” said Dolan Eversole, a coastal geologist with the University of Hawaii’s Sea Grant program.