Division of Land and Pure Assets


Posted on Sep 22, 2022 in News Releases, OCCL, slider



For Fast Launch:  September 21, 2022



Workplace of Conservation & Coastal Lands Searching for Options to Ongoing Disaster 

To view video please click on on picture or view at this hyperlink: https://vimeo.com/752337208


(HONOLULU) – The plight of public seashores and twenty houses on dunes above, within the Paumalu ahupua‘a on the north shore of O‘ahu, has consumed Michael Cain and his workers.

This 12 months, after seventeen years with DLNR, Cain was appointed administrator of the DLNR Workplace of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL). He and his group proceed to grapple with what to do about coastal houses with expired, short-term emergency State permits to “shore” up the land below their foundations to cease the forces of abrasion from toppling them onto the seashore and into the ocean. All of the houses at Paumalu border public seashores inside a State Conservation District.


“Earlier this month, utilizing a drone, we surveyed the area, and it revealed unpermitted shoreline hardening work continuing at a number of properties, in violation of Conservation District rules,” Cain defined. “This survey shows the enormous scale of the situation we face as regulators, and the desperate and illegal measures some homeowners continue to employ.”

Aerial pictures exhibits some houses teetering on sandy soil simply above the seashore. Massive, sand-filled tubes litter the seashore beneath. Equally massive cloth curtains drape the slopes in entrance of some buildings, all the best way all the way down to what stays of the general public seashore. “It’s a real mess and the photographs clearly show it,” Cain says.


“Allowing these structures (erosion control devices) to remain endangers the public beach, limits access to them for much of the year, and is littering the near-shore marine and shoreline environment with debris. They are supposed to be temporary, to give the landowners time to plan for moving their houses and cesspools, which few have done.  There could be even greater environmental catastrophe if houses and their cesspools start falling into the ocean. This is a complicated and difficult situation to resolve,” Cain added.

The drone survey led to the creation of a doc that particulars the allow historical past of every house, outlines the expired erosion management strategies nonetheless in place, and any previous or present enforcement actions. “The current system of bringing enforcement actions to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, working our way through the process for contested cases requested by landowners on alleged violations, and then following up when cases are appealed in court, is slow and inefficient. Unfortunately, this process is the only enforcement tool OCCL currently has available,” Cain defined.

Shorelines are naturally dynamic. Most of our seashores are experiencing power erosion. The pure, seasonal cycle of seashore widening and narrowing provides to the long-term seashore loss. Traditionally shoreline hardening corresponding to seawalls was the answer to guard houses, however coastal consultants now comprehend it destroys seashores. OCCL estimates that greater than 13 miles of seashores have already been misplaced in Hawai‘i as a consequence of erosion and seawalls.

“Many of the structures captured in our drone footage were given emergency permits, allowing landowners to place sandbag tubes on public land to temporarily protect their properties while the landowners worked on a long-term solution for protecting or moving their property,” Cain remarked. “We allege that none of the permit holders at Paumalu have complied with all the conditions of their permits. Their permits have expired, and the sandbag structures have become de facto seawalls that are putting the future of the beach at risk.”

OCCL notes that permitting the erosion management buildings to stay creates an unmanaged hazardous scenario that endangers public belief assets. Resolving the disaster will take a coordinated effort between all branches of the State and the counties.

Cain concluded, “We’re actively working with county planning departments and State legislators to try and identify solutions. We’re not alone. Coastal communities across the world are facing similar situations.  We talk about “retreat,” however nobody has efficiently applied retreat in a densely populated space like we’ve got with little room to maneuver inland.  We don’t have many position fashions to observe, and Hawai‘i goes to must take the lead find options.”

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(All pictures/video courtesy: DLNR)


HD video – Puamalu shoreline erosion, aerials and SOTs (Sept. 21, 2022):


Pictures – Puamalu aerials from drone survey (Sept. 7, 2022):



Media Contact: 

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Supervisor

Hawaii Dept. of Land and Pure Assets

[email protected]

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