Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sand Dunes - They Ain’t Just Sand!

 by Jim Gordon
Surf pounding the dune during Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

Islander’s may have noticed that PIE has placed three elevated walkovers over the sand dunes at beach accesses  6, 7 and 12. Some have asked us why PIE is doing that since it was actually easier to reach the beach before placement of the walkovers. Hopefully, this brief article will be helpful in answering that question.  

Sand dunes should not be seen as just a pile of sand to hinder our passage to the seashore. They 
are our first line of defense against 
The dune was breached at Colony Don Pedro.
coastal storms and beach erosion, absorbing the impact of storm surge and high waves and potentially preventing flooding and damage to our homes. 

Driving and walking on the dunes causes deterioration of beach grass and other vegetation that helps to trap and hold the sand in place and if not curbed, can eventually destroy a dune.  This creates a breach in the overall dune system and an easy pathway for even a minor storm surge. 
Flooding behind the dune.

Experience in a number of Florida beach communities has proven that when coastal residents embrace the concept of elevated dune walkovers great strides have been made towards dune preservation (Amelia Island in Northeast Florida is one striking example).  For that reason, PIE has embarked on an effort to place elevated walkovers at our most heavily used beach accesses on Knight and Don Pedro Islands.  

While we still have some electing not to use the walkovers, we are encouraged by an increasing number who are doing so.  As more and more islanders become aware of the value and sensitivity of our dunes, we are confident the walkovers will be used thereby protecting our dunes so that they in turn will protect us.  

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