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DLNR News Release-Portlock Homeowners Asked to Cut-Back Shoreline Vegetation, March 25, 2019

Posted on Mar 28, 2019 in Latest Department News

Shot Sheet

(Honolulu) – Today coastal experts from the DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) walked a short stretch of beach, fronting a dozen homes in the Portlock area of east O‘ahu. Salvatore Saluga and Shellie Habel looked for vegetation that was beyond the high-water mark. Under state law all beaches in Hawai‘i are public and any encroachment onto this public right-of-way is against the law. When the pair spotted plants, mostly naupaka and morning glory, growing beyond private property they noted it and took photographs.

Next, as Saluga explained, homeowners will receive letters instructing them to have their vegetation trimmed or cut back so it’s not impinging on the beach. He added, “Our shorelines are supposed to have clear lateral access because they are a public resource. It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of any vegetation fronting their property in shoreline areas.”

Fortunately, according to OCCL Administrator Sam Lemmo, once homeowners receive letters nearly 100% of them conduct the required trimming or cutting work within the 30 days required. “Late last year,” Lemmo said, “we contacted several dozen property owners in the Kahala area.  Due to the holidays we provided a little additional leeway, but in every single case, the property owners did what was directed and removed vegetation or other things (irrigation pipes, etc.) from the public beach right-of-way.

Three and a half years ago, OCCL sent letters to several dozen property owners with shore-front homes between Kahala and Maunalua Bay. Again, after OCCL staff conducted follow-up surveys they found that virtually all the owners had cut back their vegetation. “With our beach areas shrinking due to sea level rise and erosion, it’s more important than ever before to maintain beaches for everyone’s benefit.  We deeply appreciate the kokua beach-front property owners are demonstrating by clearing and ultimately keeping their vegetation off public areas.”

Hawai‘i has more than 700 miles of beaches, which makes it 4th in the country for the longest length of beaches. It has more than 1000 miles of total coastline, which makes it 18th in the U.S. for the most coastline.

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(All images/video courtesy: DLNR)


HD video – Portlock Shoreline Vegetation Compliance: (Shot sheet attached)

HD video – Restoring Shoreline Public Access in East Honolulu video feature (August 2015):

Photographs – Portlock Shoreline Vegetation Compliance:



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Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

(808) 587-0396

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