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Sea Level Rise Walk-Thru Workshop

Sust’ainable Molokai News Release

If you care about using our coastal roads, surfing, eating kole, ʻoio, limu, and going to the grocery stores in Kaunakakai, sea level rise affects you!

The sea level is expected to rise approximately 4.07 feet in Hawaii before the end of 2100 if we continue to operate business as usual. Large parts of Kaunakakai town will be flooded with seawater, including major infrastructure. Sust’ainable Molokai is leading the planning process to ensure that our community is prepared to adapt to this already occurring and ongoing change. Coastal communities and waterfront property owners may need to start new seawall construction projects and look for equipment like a bobcat rental to prepare for the rising sea level.

Thanks to Maui County funding championed by Councilmember Rawlins-Fernandez, Molokai is the first island in the County with the opportunity to develop a community-based plan to prepare for the effects of climate change — the Molokai Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise Adaptation and Resiliency Master Plan.

Hele mai to the walk-thru, COVID-friendly, workshop in your moku to see Molokai’s maps forecasting areas that will be inundated from rising seas! Share what areas you think should be Molokai’s top priorities for adapting to climate change. We need your manaʻo on the infrastructure and projects the County should prioritize. 

First moku workshop will be in Maunaloa on Nov. 9 at the park across from Molokai Ranch Office. The Mana’e event will be on Nov. 16, Ho’olehua and Kualapu’u will be Nov. 18 and the Kaunakakai workshop will be Nov. 22, with all workshops from 4 to 6 p.m. See posted flyers or sustainablemolokai.org for location info, and to register and enter to win. Dinner will be provided.

Sea level rise (SLR) is a consequence of global warming and an example of climate change. Human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels, releases greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and drive global warming. Since 1880, human activity has increased global temperature by approximately 1 . High temperatures cause seawater to expand and glaciers/ice sheets to melt. Increased ocean temperatures lead to coral bleaching, causing parts of the reef to die. This impacts our marine ecosystem and the fish we all love to eat and weakens the integrity of our reefs as barriers to high-surf inundation.

Based on current models, sea level in Hawaii is expected to increase by 1.4 feet before 2050. SLR will result in land loss, more severe/frequent coastal flooding and increased beach erosion. Iwi kupuna buried along the coastline will risk exposure. Some of our critical infrastructure, services and commercial buildings will be underwater. With SLR comes salt water intrusion into groundwater, old cesspools and low-lying agricultural systems. Loko iʻa, including restored fishpond walls, will be underwater.

From enjoying the surf to filling up your tank of gas, sea level rise will affect us all, especially our keiki and moʻopuna who will inherit this future from us. How we choose to adapt to these changes, however, is up to us! More information can be found at sustainablemolokai.org.


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