The Dune Science Group evolved from an effort of a retired coastal geomorphologist to attempt to help the leadership of a neighboring small Florida beach community understand the importance of coastal dunes and how to develop policies and programs to build and protect them.
During this initial volunteer effort to help the local community deal with managing their beaches, one headache emerged: How to get residents and tourists across the dunes easily without destroying the dunes. The traditional way for high volume accesses has been construction of preservative treated wood walkovers to the beach. These are expensive to build and even more expensive to maintain. In spite of introducing a lot of toxic wood preservative materials to the dunes, they do not last and without constant expensive maintenance become a liability from a safety standpoint also. We were asked as part of our original volunteer work to research the options. After studying all of the alternatives, we have developed connections with all of the suppliers to develop the best walkover for your community’s needs. We also strive to understand the morphology of you dunes and the needs of the community to access the beach in our walkover designs configuration. We can use this knowledge of the community, habitat value, and of the dune itself to incorporate in the layout of the walkover (Note: The results of the basic research was presented at the 2020 American Beach and Shore Preservation Association annual convention in October, 2020 and the PowerPoint from that presentation is found by Clicking Here)
We also understand that communities rarely have enough financial resources to build everything needed, DSG can help prioritize walkover requirements and to develop plans for lower cost pathways to the beach (goat trails) without totally sacrificing protection on the dune and user convenience
Walkovers alone can promote dune restoration but generally communities should help speed the process along to get ahead of the next coastal storm (tropical or Nor’easter). The Dune Science Group is deeply grounded in the school of coastal scientists actively promoting natural and nature-based coastal protection activities. We first promote planting of native dunes vegetation to grow and protect the dune, with occasional need for sand fencing. If the best option is construction of a manmade dune, we promote a natural contouring and planting with a variety of native vegetation to incorporate as much habitat restoration (or creation) and natural strengthening of the dune as possible.
In any case, the Dune Science Group is prepared to manage your dune restoration project, relying on certified natural plant nurseries only to supply vegetation and our expanding experience and research to develop the most appropriate plan for your beach.
Other Services for Communities
In communities the Dune Science Group serves, we are committed to providing support for the growth and development of your dunes and beach. Such support could include anything from public awareness seminars about your beach and dunes or to support and volunteer training for community wide dune planting projects. Or it could mean development of dune and beach management plans that can include everything including building community supported funding programs (the later with our associates at LJA Engineering).
The Bottom Line