Rising sea levels has put the Pu’uloa Range Training Facility on Marine Corps Base Hawaii at risk of going underwater ― and has the Marine Corps weighing its options.
A 14-year study on potential shoreline erosion laid out three potential erosion rates based on three projected sea level rise scenarios. The lowest amount of sea level rise over the next 14-years was projected at 0.25 feet, which would result in the loss of between 1.4 feet and 2.1 feet of the shoreline, Marine spokesman Capt. Eric Abrams told Marine Corps Times.
The highest projected rise was projected at 2.03 feet, which would result in a potential loss of 11.8 feet to 19 feet of the shoreline.
“Given the significant coastal erosion along the shoreline, MCBH is exploring multiple stabilization options to ensure PRTF continues to operate as a vitally important piece to Marine Corps readiness in the Pacific,” a statement from the base about the change said.
The risks if the Corps does nothing include “erosion of the earthen berms along the seaward boundaries of the ranges, seawater intrusion into the ranges rendering them unusable, and increased potential for erosion and lead contamination of the beach and water,” an environmental report said.
To stop the erosion the Corps laid out a three-phase plan.
First it will attempt to revegetate the available land between the range and the highwater mark of the shore.
The second phase will see the Corps move the range up to 100 feet back from the shore. And the final phase would see the Corps construct a wall 1,500 feet long and up to 20 feet deep just above the high-water mark and below the range, the release said.
There is no timeline currently for when the shore stabilization project will kickoff, as no money has been budgeted yet for the change.
The Hawaii range is just one Marine property forced to consider construction projects in the wake of rising sea levels.
In 2018 then-Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Gen. Glenn Walters warned lawmakers in the Senate Armed Services Committee that a seawall would need to be constructed onboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, to prevent inevitable flooding as the sea continues to rise.
In fewer than 30 years the historic recruit depot will partially be underwater for up to a quarter of the year, Marine Corps Times previously reported.