Protecting Coastal Plants within Beach Parks

Protecting Coastal Plants within Beach Parks

Coastal plants are an important functional and biological resource that is vital to our natural environment. Coastal vegetation and plant life on state lands and within beach parks are recognized and protected by county and state law. Dunes are sensitive areas that protect the beaches and ocean conditions. Care should be taken when crossing dunes and using dune areas to maintain the integrity of the dune structure and respecting the vegetation.

The role of coastal plants:
Protecting Coastal Plants within Beach ParksPlants are important because they provide dune stabilization, soil stabilization, as well as forming a vital part of the ecosystem, and biodiversity of the island fauna. Plants are also refuge to native insect species and provide corridors for beneficial insect life. Individual plants and areas of coastal vegetation are a repository of biological diversity that are a future supply of key elements such as seeds and other unique genetic materials. Beach plants also hold together soil and prevent dirt from reaching the ocean and harming marine species like coral etc. Plants have a important function in both their utility and their unique biology.

Plants are protected:
Within the parks and on state lands all plants are protected by law. It is a felony misdemeanor to harm plants or remove plants in a park. In parks all plants are maintained exclusively by the parks dept.

Tree trimming:
Tree trimming is the sole responsibility of the parks department. No individual may trim cut or mutilate a tree or plant without express permission of the department. Private individuals can make a request to the parks dept to come and trim specific trees.

Volunteer groups, community work day:
There are also several volunteer organizations that have specific permission to do clean up within the parks and on beaches. Community Work Day aka “Malama Maui Nui” handles community clean ups to remove trash, from streams, beaches and similar areas. Private individuals wishing to help can contact CWD.

Trash clean ups are not the same as cutting trees:
When trash clean ups occur they are supervised and coordinated efforts conducted with the permission of the local authorities. Trash is collected and then arranged to be picked up from specific locations etc.

Weed control and invasive species:
Weed control and invasive species is a function of different groups in conjunction with the local authorities. These tasks are done by qualified persons with the relevant experience and specialty knowledge, who coordinate and supervise the removal of only the specific harmful species, and only in a manner that will not harm the native species.
The highest priority is placed on preserving the endemic plant species, many of which are rare or endangered. If a private individual wished to be involved in weed control efforts, they should talk to Mike Perry, or contact Jan Dapitan at CWD.

Reporting Violations:
Preserving our natural resources is a community responsibility. If you see any individuals driving on sand dunes, cutting or damaging trees, or removing sand/soil/rocks/wood contact Parks department, Park rangers, or Hawaii Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) and also known as the Hawaii DLNR Police.

Contact Numbers:
Maui County Parks Department: (808) 270-7230
DLNR dept of land and natural Resources: (808) 587-0400
DLNR Enforcement: 643-DLNR
Community Work Day CWD (Malama Maui Nui): (808) 877-2524

Protecting Coastal Plants within Beach Parks
Photo: Caring for native coastal plants on Maui

Protecting Plants and Trees at Kanaha Beach

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.Continue reading