Restoring sugary-white sand dunes that cover the equivalent of 50 football fields is part of a $135 million project announced in July 2016 for Gulf State Park. Several internationally renowned experts collaborated on developing the environmentally sensitive projects at the park. The state will use 2010 oil spill funds from BP – not taxes – for the project.
Part of the restoration project requires creating openings in the existing berm so sand dunes can form naturally. Other strategies include the use of buried Christmas trees, as well as the planting of sea oats. Check out this video to learn more.
Wondering how sand dunes are restored? Sand fencing is one of several components. Sand gets carried along the beach by the wind. The fences you see placed along the beaches collect the wind-driven sand. That helps the dune keep growing instead of being blown away.
The result of replenishing the dunes includes protection from storm surges such as those experienced in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan claimed a great deal of sand along the beaches. Certainly, that affects our residents and visitors who enjoy spending time at the shore. But it also has a tremendous impact on wildlife; dunes are a core nesting and stopover area for hundreds of local and migratory bird species. Endangered species – loggerhead sea turtles, least terns and the Alabama beach mouse, for example – are also jeopardized by loss of this important habitat.
So where you see sand fencing, be mindful of the dune restoration projects underway and enjoy your beach activities without disturbing the progress!