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Letters for Monday, March 21, 2022

Saving Wailua Beach: Let’s follow the science

Wailua Beach’s major retreat has been disturbingly evident to all of us as we pass by.

Restoring this beach effectively and in an environmentally friendly way is important. A successful restoration could provide a model for how to protect our beaches in the face of changing ocean conditions due to sea-level rise and extreme weather events resulting from climate disruption.

A front-page story in The Garden Island on Sunday, March 13, entitled “Erosion-mitigation project for Wailua Beach gets CIP funding” by Scott Yunker, reports the state Department of Transportation has authorized capital-improvement funds for a shoreline-mitigation project which will involve a patented technology named SandSaver in front of an un-grouted rock revetment.

Careful study of the SandSaver website and a search of the independent scientific literature reveal multiple reasons for concern and caution about SandSaver.

The Granger Plastics Company presents information on SandSaver and its predecessor, SandGrabber, at the website The core concept of both is the trapping of sand behind a low wall of concrete that has holes facing the direction of incoming waves. For SandGrabber, the low wall is built with cinder blocks. SandSaver consists of a molded plastic shell with tapered holes. After placement on the beach and orientation of the holes toward the surf, the molded plastic shell is filled with concrete and leaves the holes open to the incoming water flow.

The first experimental deployments of SandGrabber occurred in the late 1970s, including one at Kualoa Point, O‘ahu in 1978. SandSaver was deployed experimentally on Lake Michigan in 2011. There is no indication that this technology has been adopted widely beyond several deployments which are listed as “pilots” and “experimental.”

Even after so many years of experimentation, the website provides no references to independent detailed scientific studies of the effectiveness and long-term impacts on beaches and adjacent coastlines. Their website does include a few very-limited studies by paid consultants, which are unconvincing.

The most-extensive consultant report studied the Lake Michigan deployment, but the study fails to assess the statistical significance of an observed modest increase in beach sand, studied unrepresentative conditions, and did not study impacts outside the study area. We have also searched the recent scientific literature on beach restoration and coastal erosion, for example in the scientific journal “Ocean and Coastal Management.” No references or reports on SandSaver were found.

Even a basic consideration of the physics of a wave hitting a low concrete wall with holes on a beach in the surf zone raises scientific concerns. Since the direction in which the tapered holes point is a preferred direction, this technology must be quite sensitive to the direction of the incoming waves. As any surfer on Kaua‘i knows, the direction of the waves changes quite a bit during the year. How will these large changes in the incoming wave directions affect the impact on the beach and surrounding coastline? Also, how will impacts change throughout the year as sea-level changes due to tides, storms and rising sea levels resulting from climate disruption?

Our research shows SandSaver is an unproven technology with unstudied long-term impacts and performance. We believe the restoration of Wailua Beach needs to be guided by science. Therefore, the first step should be a coastal geology and hydrology study of the Wailua Bay area to understand the flows of sand and the causes of the depletion of sand at Wailua Beach. Such a study would lay the foundation for development of a coastal-management plan which maximizes use of the ecosystem and other modalities for saving Wailua Beach.


Julio Magalhães is a retired planetary climate scientist who resides in Kilauea and is writing on behalf of the Sierra Club Kaua’i Group Executive Committee.

Be wary of war images’ impact on keiki

I am at a loss for words concerning two years of COVID-19 followed by a war in Europe. I would, however, like to share some advice concerning your children. Try your best to:

• Watch the news when they are asleep, or read it;

• Protect keiki from hearing your conversations with other adults;

• Keep them away from the TV coverage and all war images;

• Refrain from discussing it as much as possible.

If a question is asked, stay away from unnecessary details with our young keiki. Children 4 and a half to 7 years old are building the Gestalt hemisphere of the brain through movement, imagination, outer speech and picture processing, It is inappropriate for you to lecture about the war.

What speaks to these young keiki loudly and clearly are visual images on the TV, other screens, magazines and the newspapers. The images of war are very upsetting and can cause fear, worry and insecurity.

Let the time you spend with your children be fun, peaceful and full of love. Being out in nature with a supportive family is one way to give your young keiki a sense of security during challenging times.

Noreen Dougherty, Kapa‘a

Writer has a lot of questions

Being very ignorant and not quite understanding why people do and say things that do not make some sense to me, I question, because I need to know what they are trying to say. Maybe someone smarter than me could explain what the heck they are or were talking about. Let me give some examples:

1. TGI, 3/6/22, stated that the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center is overcrowded and the spreading of the virus is a big issue right now. What? Are they concerned about the overcrowding or the virus? Which?

Criminals! Do us a favor. If you’re going to commit the crimes, don’t get caught. They have no more rooms or spaces for you. And where will you go? You’ll be way out of luck if you couldn’t be spending your time in jail. Be smart, and don’t get caught.

2. I’m in agreement with the person who said that the election for the prosecuting attorney was a waste of taxpayers’ money. With just two of those ladies running for that seat, which wasn’t the greatest, the results from the primary election would have sufficed. No need for the general. It showed that (Rebecca) Like won on both elections outstandingly. What a waste.

3. And what about those Republicans? Praising the devilish Putin for having done the wrong things, and are still doing them, and, simultaneously, cutting down Biden, who is doing everything possible to right the wrong Trump did, and to make America better than what it used to be. And, frankly, why are the Republicans doing the opposite and going against and not helping the American people? And why are they making the Americans suffer?

4. Did you see on the news where the employers in many businesses are beginning to use robots, because no one wants to work, and the employers need workers? Believe it or not, the people are getting scared and worried, because they will be out of work, if they used the robots. Really? When did this become a problem before? Be truthful. You all enjoyed the big unemployment checks. Going to work would only bring home a smaller check than the unemployment checks.

5. And because it appears there are signs the viruses are dropping, they are lifting a lot of the restrictions. Why? Are they sure that it is the right thing to stop wearing the masks and lifting the traveling restrictions? Keep those things going on a little longer, until there are surer results.

There is more to say, like the war in Ukraine, the minimum wage, tourists, the traffic and the drug issues, and more, but we will wait.

Ignorance could be blissful. I am simply that, but would want to know.

Ray Domingo, Lihu‘e
Source: The Garden Island

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