State-funded Waikiki Beach restoration begins this fall

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The state has released $500,000 for planning and design work to restore and improve sections of Waikiki Beach to save its diminishing ecology and neutralize the effects from high surf and high tides.

"It's important to restore the beach so that it lives up to the high expectations of residents and visitors today and in the future," said Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle.

The building of sea walls and hotels too close to the shoreline, shutting off streams that naturally replenished Waikiki Beach with sand, has contributed to erosion, which kills reefs and marine life.
 
The state project will be coordinated by the hotel industry and with money provided by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

"It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of Waikiki Beach to our visitor industry," said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association.

The planning and design work is scheduled to begin this fall and to be completed in spring 2010.

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