Jeffrey’s Beach in Talofofo will soon have a much-needed facelift.
To enhance its shoreline and to increase public access to beaches, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, through its Division of Coastal Resources Management, is currently working on the Jeffrey’s Beach Boardwalk Project, which involves installing a parking lot and a boardwalk into the beach.
Jeffrey’s Beach is becoming a very popular tourist site and that has led to trucks and cars that drive to the beach all day and every day, causing sedimentation.
“We have a big problem with people driving on the beach at Jeffrey’s Beach. It is an important habitat for threatened species that are indigenous to the Northern Mariana Islands,” said DCRM communications specialist Mallory Muña.
“Because Jeffrey’s Beach has one of the largest streams in the CNMI, we are working on creating a boardwalk to stop people from driving into it,” Muña added.
Jeffrey’s Beach is one of the 18 beaches along the coastline of Saipan that was recently assessed for BECQ-DCRM by Sea Engineering, Inc. on their vulnerability to coastal erosion. The project was part of the Saipan Shoreline Access and Shoreline Enhancement Assessment in 2018.
Identified issues included limited access to the beach, lack of amenities, and the extensive amount of marine debris along the shoreline.
The assessment also reports that parking and walking along Route 36, the only access to Jeffrey’s Beach, is dangerous, and there are also concerns regarding water quality in the Talofofo Stream drainage.
“The road is bad, but the tourists don’t care. Right now, there’s a road that goes in, and there’s like a parking area, but it’s not,” Muna said.
“The problem that we are seeing is people don’t just stop there. They want to drive onto the beach for some reason, which harms the entire ecosystem, and it makes it so that the stream cannot flow out into the ocean. There’s water quality issues there too,” Muña added.
The Jeffrey’s Beach Project is going to install a parking lot and a walking-only boardwalk into the beach itself. The boardwalk is intended to prohibit vehicular traffic, to allow vegetation to recover, and to stabilize the degraded road, which would reduce sediment run-off.
A Nature Walk will also be created, with information about the ecosystem and the different species that live in Jeffrey’s Beach, among others.