Hawaii & Alaska
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HI - Is new sand already disappearing from Waikiki Beach?

It cost $3.5 million to get sand offshore to put on the beach between Kuhio Beach Park and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in a project completed last month.

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - It cost $3.5 million to get sand offshore to put on the beach between Kuhio Beach Park and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in a project completed last month.

But some are wondering if the ocean is already reclaiming a lot of that sand.

The state retrieved nearly 22,000 cubic yards of sand in shallow waters about a thousand feet offshore in order to double the width of the shoreline. But Kuhio Beach, already packed with tourists, almost looked the same as it did before the project.

Part of the reason is very high seasonal tides. The preliminary tide at Honolulu Harbor on Friday afternoon came close to 2.9 feet.

“It makes the beach look smaller, frankly, when you have these higher tides. It doesn’t mean that it is. It’s just a perception,” said Sam Lemmo, administrator of the DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, which managed the beach maintenance project.

The reality is that the sand is, indeed, going out. Experts said it’s meant to do that.

“The engineering design is to overfill it so that it loses some sand on purpose, and that sand goes offshore to complete what’s known as the equilibrium profile of the beach,” said Chip Fletcher of the UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

The truth is that Waikiki is not a natural beach. It’s been engineered for more than a century.

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