Friday, January 14, 2011

Erosion eating away at Nimitz Beach Park

by Nick Delgado from

Guam - The shoreline in Agat is literally sinking, and officials are scrambling to find a solution. It's an eyesore for those who stop by Nimitz Beach in Agat - the shoreline is being eaten away and officials are concerned that it could eventually wipe the park off the map.

"The area is eroding," said village mayor Carol Tayama. "We need to do something." She's working with the Department of Public Works, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Parks & Recreation on the matter. The problem is obvious as you can see the public shower is half way tilted into the ocean, picnic tables and benches in the water and the sidewalk chipping away.

"We need to do something now residents are complaining that pretty soon they wont be able to do their walks in the morning or in the evenings because it's eating in to the sidewalks," the mayor added.

Parks & Rec director Pete Calvo says he will have to barricade these hazardous areas. Calvo toured the site Thursday with the Agat mayor and Senator Mana Silva Taijeron hoping to get a clear picture of what needs to be done. He said they even had to shut down a public restroom, as there was proof that the erosion was working its way underneath the structure.

"We don't want to have the public in that predicament where they are unknowingly going in to use the restroom and perhaps just their weight alone may have shifted the building and cause a collapse or something to that effect," Calvo noted.

And what's worse - Calvo admits is that the erosion problem may not just be isolated to the Nimitz Beach area. "It may not be feasible for us to only protect Nimitz Beach," he explained. "We may have to go down the line and protect all the beaches down the line. What we don't want to do is drive the problem into another person's backyard...the concerns are similar to the erosion problems over at the Inarajan and Talofofo Bay area, and officials are hoping to expedite the process to prevent anymore of this land from eroding into the ocean."

Parks & Rec oversight chair Senator Tina Muna Barnes says fixing the erosion problem depends on how fast GovGuam can get the funding. "It's important to look and see if there is some emergency funding that we can receive from some federal grants in stopping and protecting that erosion from continuing to come on in," she said.

Calvo meanwhile says they are waiting for mitigation recommendations from the Army Corps of Engineers before they can begin any effort to stop the erosion. He does plan on planting more trees as a temporary fix. In the meantime, he cautions residents who use the park, saying, "When they use the beach they go to be mindful that the erosion of the shoreline also signifies the possible tidal movements in the water itself and so they got to be careful."

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