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$100,000 Grant to be Used for Coastal Mapping Project for Windward Oahu

(Honolulu, Hawaiʻi) - The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation (UHF) to be used for a coastal mapping project for Windward O’ahu. The project will map the historical pattern of erosion on the Windward coast and use the mapping to characterize future erosion hazards. As part of the grant, the mapping will also be used for a community planning effort to create an overall strategy to protect Kailua Beach in perpetuity. The mapping of the Windward coast is part of a project being conducted by the Hawaiʻi Coastal Geology Group, in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaiʻi School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST) to map coastline erosion throughout the Hawaiʻian Islands.

"We are very grateful to the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation for funding the Windward coast component of the mapping project," said Dr. Charles "Chip" Fletcher, principal investigator of the project and professor of Geology and Geophysics at SOEST. "By investing in this project, the Castle Foundation is helping to ensure that future generations of families will be able to enjoy the beaches that make our islands so beautiful and our quality of life so rich."

The goal of the SOEST mapping project is to establish a scientific basis for improved beach management policies throughout Hawaiʻi. In addition to mapping the historical pattern of erosion on the Windward coast, the project aims to determine the rate of erosion on Kaua’i, Moloka’i, Hawaiʻi, and the remaining coastlines of Oahu. The project has already achieved success in Maui where a new setback policy was adopted for Maui County in October 2003 based on previous data provided by the coastal mapping project.

"With the success of the Maui project and the widespread nature of coastal erosion as a catalyst for action, now is the time for us to conduct research that clarifies the urgent need for coastline responsibility," added Dr. Fletcher. "Restoring and preserving the coastline of the islands is an initiative that benefits everyone. With a broad population shift toward the coasts, nationally and throughout the world over the last 50 years, the research findings of this project will have global implications. We're hoping to attract additional funding for this project so we're able to more quickly move forward on it."

The length of Hawaiʻi's beaches has decreased markedly over the past several decades, by 25 percent on O’ahu and about 10 to 20 percent each on Maui and Kaua’i. The mapping accomplished by Dr. Fletcher and the UH research team is available to state and county agencies should they wish to establish a scientific basis for new, coastal management policies. The research is characterized by the use of modern remote sensing techniques to determine historical erosion rates spaced every 20 m (65 ft) along the shoreline. Dr. Fletcher envisions that the detailed nature of these data can form the backbone of new beach-specific management plans, redevelopment goals, land-banking objectives, engineering solutions to erosion problems, and conservation policies that can be considered at the community planning levels throughout the state.

"For the first time in state history, a 'one-stop' data source can be created in support of managing beaches at the shoreline level rather than the present 'one size fits all' approach," explained Dr. Fletcher. "This project can improve the way Hawaiʻi cares for its beach assets by providing planners with projections of future erosion hazards along the coastline and establishing guidelines for safe development."

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About The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation was founded in 1962 by Harold K.L. Castle and is the largest private foundation based in Hawaiʻi. Each year foundation directors award grants to non-profit organizations benefiting the people of the State of Hawaiʻi. Originally, the grants focused on the Windward side of Oahu, youth, private education, and health care. However, the broad purpose of the Foundation allows response to any current community concern.  From 1992 through 2002 alone, over $65,000,000 was granted to organizations serving Hawaiʻi, with over $20,000,000 going to organizations serving Windward Oahu.  Currently, the Foundation averages grant awards of $8,000,000 a year.

About SOEST. The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology was established by the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaiʻi in 1988 in recognition of the need to realign and further strengthen the excellent education and research resources available within the university. SOEST brings together in a single focused ocean, earth sciences and technology group, academic departments, research institutes, federal cooperative programs, and support facilities of the highest quality in the nation to meet challenges in the ocean and earth sciences. Scientists of SOEST are supported by both state and federal funds, and endeavor to understand the subtle and complex interrelations of the seas, the atmosphere, and the earth.

Dr. Fletcher may be contacted at 956-2582 or at

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors' passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations