What is a Sand Dune?

Sand dunes are the result of an accumulation of sand formed by the wind, by waves and by eroding sandstone. Because dunes are dependent on the ever constant forces of wind and water their structure is constantly changing.

Sand dunes are natural barriers against the powerful waves and windy storms. Beach dunes are also a rich habitat for specific vegetation and wildlife. – Surfer Today

Did you know?

It only takes ten steps to destroy a sand dune (beach grass colony). Dune grass is important because without dune grass sand dunes would not exist. When the wind blows, sand it gets caught in the grass. The grass-roots form a net that slows the sands` movement and holds the sand together forming the basis of the dune. Sand dunes act as a natural barrier against storms and waves. Subsequently, they also act as a storage reservoir during storms helping to prevent flooding.

Sand dunes are also home to many plants and animals like shore birds, migrating birds, wildlife and vegetation. Dunes help prevent beach erosion and form a natural habitat for beach animals.

Over the past 100 years humans have altered the fragile South Florida coastline to the extent that the natural system barely exists today. As a consequence of shoreline development, 10’s of millions of dollars have been spent building jetties and re-nourishing the beaches in a futile attempt to slow the inevitable erosion caused by human activities and sea level rise. Literally we have watched as these 10 of millions of dollars of re-nourished sand just wash out to sea . – South Florida Audubon Society

Causes of Dune Destruction

sand dunes

Photo: City of Deerfield Beach

There are two main causes of dune destruction:

Sand Dunes

Photo: epa.gov

  • Natural causes: Like storms and erosion. While the dunes are protecting what’s inland, storms are being ravaged and sometimes are completely destroyed.
  • Human causes: Humans can be the most damaging to dunes because there is no natural recovery. Damage can occur when humans play or walk through the dunes.

Simple ways we can all protect the dunes

sand dunes

Photo: Yelp (Oceans 234)

  • Do not play or walk on the dunes.
  • Carry out any garbage you bring into the beach area to prevent pollution of the dunes and animals that call the beach area home.


How You Can Help the Sand Dunes at Our Local Beach

The City of Deerfield Beach is partnering with Youth Environmental Alliance, South Florida Audubon Society and TD Bank to continue restoring the dunes of Deerfield Beach, and we need your help!

Youth Environmental Alliance

We’ll be meeting on Thursday, March 23rd to at 9 AM to plant a new section of sea oat plants in the sand. The new location is at the corner of SE 2nd Street and Ocean Way. Look for the teal Deerfield Beach tent! If you’d like to join us, please email your RSVP by Wednesday, March 22nd, to Hillary Marshall at the City of Deerfield Beach. Please remember to bring gloves, hat, sunscreen, etc. Snacks and water will be provided.


Why is the Restoration of Sand Dunes Important?

Watch as the South Florida Audubon Society and Youth Environment Alliance explain why dune restoration is important in Broward County. The Youth Environmental Alliance has restored dunes resulting in the planting of 22,880 sea oats and diversity plants.

Youth Environmental Alliance/Sea Oat Planting from Low Sea Productions on Vimeo.