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Posts Tagged ‘coastal sand dune restoration’

Dune Not Disturb: Protecting Our Coastal Sand Dunes the Easy Way

Posted by Jody on September 5, 2012

Help protect our fragile coastal sand dunes.

Coastal sand dune protection is serious business, and it’s no wonder why. Beaches and coastal dunes are essential components of the ever changing environment in which sand is continually exchanged and rearranged. Coastal sand dunes are areas of considerable biological diversity, and, according to the Texas General Land Office, “As a resilient natural barrier to the destructive forces of wind and waves, sand dunes are the least expensive and most efficient defense against storm-surge flooding and beach erosion. Dunes absorb the impact of storm surge and high waves, preventing or delaying intrusion of waters into inland areas. Dunes hold sand that replaces eroded beaches after storms and buffer windblown sand and salt spray.”

Coastal Sand Dunes

What is the best way for beach-goers to help protect and preserve our fragile coastal dune systems?  We simply use the dune walkover structures and/or enter the beach from designated entry points. No kidding. It’s that easy!

Coastal Sand Dune Walkover

Are you interested in the coastal sand dune environment? The State of Texas has a wonderful resource, jam-packed with information on the preservation and restoration of coastal sand dunes. You can download the free educational handbook here: The Dune Protection and Improvement Manual.

Have a dune-friendly day at the beach!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Ice Plants: Not so Cool

Posted by Jody on June 13, 2012

I always thought that the striking, colorful ice plants that grow so profusely along the dunes and on the rocky bluffs of California’s Pacific coastline were native to the Golden State. Was I ever wrong!  I do still think they are absolutely striking, but now I know that they are definitely not native. In fact, ice plants (Carpobrotus edulis) were intentionally brought to California from South Africa in the early 1900s to stabilize the coastal sands and help control erosion.

Well, you know what they say about the “best laid plans.”  They often go awry.

The Invasive Ice Plant, North Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Ice plants are  mat-forming perennials.  They have very thick, triangularly shaped, smooth and fleshy leaves with pretty yellow or pink flowers. Once intended to maintain the stability the coastal dunes, these rapidly spreading, non-native succulents are now recognized as an invasive species. Growing year round, a single ice plant shoot segment can grow up to three feet in one year, threatening the delicate ecosystem and unique environment of California’s coastal dunes.

Ice Plants on the Dunes of North Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

The colorful blankets of ice plants squeeze out indigenous plants, and native dune vegetation has to compete for nutrients, space, water and sunlight. In some areas ice plants have completely taken over, preventing  the native flora from thriving and slowing the natural process of dune migration.

As the late, great Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not know that.”

Beautiful North Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California

So now, at Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California, Coastal Dune Habitat Restoration Projects are taking place to remove both the non-native invasive European beachgrass and the ice plant from coastal dune habitats to “restore natural dune processes and function.”  Would you like to know more? There is a very thorough article on the National Park Service website entitled “Coastal Dune Habitat Restoration Project: Why is Dune Restoration Important?” It is long, but it covers everything you might want to know on the topic, and so much more. It’s very interesting reading!

By golly, ya really do learn something new everyday!

Suggestions? Tips? Comments?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment space below!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Flora, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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