Maui Sand is Disappearing Fast

Maui Sand is Disappearing Fast

Over 60 years of sand exports are depleting Maui’s finite sand Stocks. Here is a picture of the “sand Barge” that departs to Oahu about twice a week (96 barges per year in 2005). Massive amounts of sand are taken from an inland quarry, and trucked in huge convoys to Kahului harbor, where is is loaded onto a massive Sand Barge and then shipped out fast. It is estimated that we are running out of sand, possibly within 5-7 years. When that happens we will have no local land based sand supply left for beach restoration projects or other needs in the future. The rate of Maui sand exports is accelerating, possibly because these people fear that their permits would be revoked when people discover the magnitude of this problem.

Mr. ROB PARSONS (Environment Coordinator, Maui County) says more than 2 million tons of inland sand is excavated every year, and the majority of it isn’t even used locally, but gets shipped off to Honolulu.

Mr. PARSONS: In fiscal year ’04, the Harbor Master said the sand barge left Kahului for Oahu 61 times. The following year, fiscal year ’05, it left 96 times. To me, that’s a dramatic and even shocking increase.

Maui Sand being Exported to Oahu, on the sand Barge in Kahului Harbor

photograph: “Forest & Kim Starr“.