Sand dunes serve an important purpose by absorbing the impacts and protecting inland areas from high energy storms and act as a resilient barrier to the destructive forces of wind and waves. They also act as sand storage areas that supply sand to eroded beaches during storms and buffer windblown sand and salt spray.
Where vegetation can get a foothold in the dry, unfertile sand, the windblown sand grains get batted down to the base of the plant and the sand surface incrementally rises, one grain at a time. Your feet are a threat to dune vegetation. Without realizing, people crush fragile plants and flatten nests and small creatures hidden in the grass.
Beach grass has adapted to being buried by the sand and it makes its way to the new surface as it gets buried. In time of large ocean storms waves crash into the dunes and the sand is re-supplied to the beach on front, which has been eroded in the early stages of the storm. The relationship of the beach and dune is an important symbiosis. This process that occurs during the winter months dictates how we manage our beach in the summer.
Without vegetation, the dune is exposed to wind erosion resulting in blowouts or breaches in the dunes. As a result, inland areas become more vulnerable during coastal storms. Protecting dunes protects the sand supply that slows shoreline erosion.
Help preserve the sand dunes, dune grass, and nesting habitat for our bird species. Please stay on maintained trails. Shortcuts leave lasting scars.