As watermen and waterwomen in Hawaii we get the privilege to access the ocean through county and state beach parks and across coastal beaches and dune areas. Our coastal areas and especially dunes are fragile and must be protected from harm. There are many plant species that have a beneficial effect in stabilizing the dunes, and retaining sands so that they can resist ocean action and help prevent erosion. Healthy dune systems help slow the rate of shoreline retreat. On average the shoreline on Maui retreats shoreward at the rate of one foot per year. Human activity can damage shoreline plants and dunes and increase erosion rates. This can lead to accelerated shoreline retreat. In short this means that if we don’t protect the shoreline plants we will lose our beaches.
Most shoreline plants, and all shoreline vegetation and even the native grasses in parks, state lands and public areas are protected by law. There are rules and laws against damaging or removing any plants. Most of the coastal plants are native species, and many are indigenous or endemic to their area. Most all of the individual plants, bushes and trees at Kanaha have been cataloged and inventoried photographed and studied, by conservation officials and each individual plant is important to the environment.
Please Show Respect:
Please do not remove sand, do not move rocks or change the beach shape. Do not damage trees, or dig trenches or holes. Do not put equipment on trees or break branches. Do not remove drift wood, dead trees also help stabilize beaches and anchor sand dunes. So dead trees must also be left in place. Dead wood is home to insect species that require the dead wood for shelter. Micro biology has been discovered that is unique and indigenous to each location and is specific to each plant. Some species require the dead plants of a specific species to breakdown as a food source, and complete their life cycles too. We want to tread very lightly, and not disturb the delicate balance of the coastal ecosystem. Damaging the dunes, and plants and other destructive onshore activity can cause soil and other contaminants to enter the ocean and destroy water quality and damage reefs. When offshore reefs die they can no longer protect the shoreline, and shoreline retreat, and beach loss increases.
We should all try to be more aware of our potentially negative effects on the coastal environment, and try to act in a positive way that minimizes our impact. We should try to be the stewards of our environment and act consciously and show our respect.
malama i ka aina malama o ke kai
(take care of the land, take care of the sea).
for more info on protecting our reef go to:
Coral Reef Protection and Ocean Etiquette
Action Sports Maui Coral Reef Awareness, and Ocean Etiquette, for surfing, kayak, snorkelling and sailing.