Erosion threatens coastal homes in Hawaii

By Michelle Kapusta,

Hawaiian homes on Oahu’s North Shore are being threatened by a beach erosion.

According to the Associated Press, residents of at least five oceanfront homes saw damage to their properties caused by a heavy swell on Christmas.

Last week, the Huffington Post reported that residents of the Rocky Point neighborhood scrambled to save their homes when 25-foot tall waves crashed offshore, sending water onto their lanais and exposing concrete foundations.

A common problem for parts of the Hawaiian Island is that many houses and businesses have been built too close to the shoreline, which has been compromised by the erosion.

Property owners would now like to build a seawall as a solution to protect their homes. However, scientists say that a protective wall would also have its drawbacks.

"Do you build a seawall and potentially condemn the beach to extinction in front of the seawall but at the same time buy a lot of time for homeowners on the nearby land to figure out how to move away from that situation?" asked Chip Fletcher, a University of Hawaii coastal geologist. "Or do you not build a seawall, condemning the homes and the developed land to extinction, but allow the beach to survive?"

Many questions remain, leaving residents to fear that the next surge might be too much for their homes to withstand.



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