One of the key objectives of The National Ocean Policy is to “strengthen resiliency of ocean communities and marine environments…and their abilities to adapt to climate change impacts and ocean acidification.” Disaster avoidance measures would include institutional and governmental measures to reduce risks from coastal hazards.
Benchmark - Where we are now
  • The importance of managing coastal hazards is magnified as more is learned about the effects of climate change, and in particular, sea level rise. Sea level rise will affect all the islands and will impact areas already developed. While the immediacy of this occurrence is not within the next five years, some effect can already be seen and measured. The challenge of identifying and implementing adaptation measures indicated that work needs to begin now.
  • The Ocean Resources Management Plan (ORMP) Coordinated Working Group in collaboration with the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP) prepared the Framework for Climate Change Adaptation in Hawai‘i (2009).
  • Shoreline erosion studies have been completed for Kauaʻi, Maui, and Oʻahu but need to be updated as new information becomes available.
  • The Office of Planning (OP), in consultation with the ORMP Policy Group (the Council on Ocean Resources), and other stakeholders, successfully passed Act 286 (2012), Hawai‘i's climate change adaptation priority guidelines. The Act is codified as Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS) Section 226-109, so that it is integrated into Hawaiʻi's statewide planning and land use system.
Target – Where we want to be
  • Build Capacity. Develop best management practices and guidance that integrate HRS Section 226-109, Climate Change Adaptation Priority Guidelines, into county and state decision-making.
  • Additional information on the science and mapping of sea level rise exists and complete sea level rise maps, shoreline erosion studies, and erosion risk maps are completed for every island.
  • A comprehensive and integrated shoreline policy is adopted that addresses the impacts of chronic and episodic coastal hazards. This may or may not involve new or amended state law.
  • Adaptation strategies are identified, which may include retreat zones, prohibition of shoreline armoring, and assessment of impacts on underground infrastructure and utilities.

Shoreline erosion studies and maps completed for Hawai‘i Island, Lana‘i, and Moloka‘i

(Data coming soon)

Agency: University of Hawai‘i, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

Image: Getty Images

Review and update shoreline erosion maps for Kaua‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu

The Hawai‘i Shoreline Study provides shoreline change data to the public and government partners to assist in decision-making in the coastal zone.
Shoreline erosion maps for Oʻahu were published in 2010.
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-funded Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Project of Special Merit for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 in the amount of $225,000 has been awarded to continue to review and update shoreline erosion maps for Kaua‘i, Maui, and O‘ahu. The update commenced in October 2017 and is expected to be complete in March of 2019.
The project will use current aerial imagery to update the Hawai‘i historical shoreline database and model updated historical rates of change in support of existing policies. The updated rates will be applied to the development of revised projections of future erosion probability for the major sandy portions of shoreline on Maui, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi.
Agency: University of Hawai‘i, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

Title Image: NOAA