Erosion Control Barriers for Dune Protection & Coastal Restoration

eroding bluffs

Both continued erosion and forceful weather systems have contributed to coastal dune damage. Dune protection is extremely important for the health of the coastal ecosystems, as well as for property protection. In Michigan and Florida, many property owners are facing severe threats due to dune migration.

What can be done to prevent the migration of beach dunes?

Dune migration is a natural part of evolving coastlines, and therefore, cannot and should not be prevented. Any changes you make to the shoreline will affect other parts.

“Sand dunes provide natural coastal protection against storm surge and high waves, preventing or reducing coastal flooding and structural damage, as well as providing important ecological habitat. They also act as sand storage areas, supplying sand to eroded beaches. Preserving or enhancing dune systems can help protect coastal property, especially in areas with low or moderate erosion. However, dunes do not provide protection from seasonal beach fluctuations, long-term erosion or inlet migration – no matter how large the dune. Sand dunes are dynamic features so the movement of the landform must be considered for all dune preservation, enhancement, and reconstruction activities.”

Connecticut Sea Grant

Connecticut Beaches and Dunes: A Hazard Guide for Coastal Property Owners

Dunes naturally change over the years due to wind action leading to erosion. While there are natural causes of dune migration, there are also preventable causes that worsen erosion. Erosion can be quickened by the removal of vegetation — either done by people or strong storms. Replanting vegetation is the best way to help preserve and stabilize the dune. Construction is another leading cause of dune erosion. It’s important to follow best management practices to reduce environmental impacts during construction projects.

Climate change has also quickened the rate of sand dune erosion as it leads to higher water levels. All over the world sand dunes are under heavy attack from higher sea levels and more severe weather conditions as a result of the continuous process of global warming. By installing a TrapBag® barrier system inside the dune core, the erosion of the dune can be slowed down drastically or even brought to a halt.

Dune management involves stabilizing the dune to prevent continued erosion. There are many dune stabilization techniques. Dune management is often accomplished by replanting vegetation or creating fencing.

Coastal management specialists often recommend planting dune grass (also called sea grass). Make sure to buy plants native to your region (The Dune Book).

When saving a dune becomes an emergency, further measures may be required for dune protection. TrapBag® barrier systems can be installed within the dune in order to strengthen the core and prevent erosion.

TrapBags on beach dunes

Why are coastal sand dunes important?

Coastal sand dunes are important because they act as a natural barrier to wind and waves that move off of the water inland. They also serve as a habitat for wildlife and vegetation.

In order to protect coastal property, some communities have even begun to build artificial dunes. Like other emergency measures, these artificial dunes don’t work on the long-term. It’s important to protect and preserve coastal dunes so that they can continue to provide protection from swells, winds, tides and other destructive forces.

What is beach nourishment or renourishment?

Beach nourishment or renourishment is the process of adding sand and sediment to rebuild beaches. This is also known as “soft-armoring” and is less harmful than hard-armoring (seawalls) when it comes to combating coastal erosion. Beach nourishment is not without its consequences, though. The addition of large quantities of sand can hurt or kill wildlife. The heavy machinery involved also kills wildlife.

Prior to attempting any type of beach nourishment, the existing dunes need to be stabilized. See Michigan’s Dune Stabilization BMPs. This can be done using the TrapBag® barrier system.

Beach nourishment on the Great Lakes

This year, many communities along the Great Lakes in Michigan have turned to beach nourishment. Water levels in the Great Lakes have been hitting record highs and destroying hundreds of beaches and homes.

If you are looking to stabilize dunes prior to conducting beach nourishment along the Great Lakes, TrapBag® can offer the best solution.

Beach nourishment in the Florida Keys

In the Florida Keys, storms can lead to beach damage. Beach renourishment is one way communities rebuild their beaches after storm damage occurs. Before the process of renourishment can begin, the existing dunes and slopes must be stabilized.

If you are looking to stabilize dunes prior to conducting beach nourishment in the Florida Keys, TrapBag® can offer the best solution.

Can you contain dunes or beach sand bluffs?

Sand dunes and beach sand bluffs are natural features of the coastal landscape that change along with everything else in nature. Erosion is a natural process that will eventually change the shape and position of the dunes.

However, there are a lot of causes that worsen erosion beyond what naturally occurs and what can be planned for. These include construction, overuse, vegetation removal, and many other human activities.

You cannot prevent erosion entirely, nor can you completely contain dunes. You can however, treat dunes and coastal bluffs responsibly and take erosion control measures when necessary.

How to use TrapBags for dune protection or coastal restoration projects

When saving a dune becomes an emergency, further measures may be required for dune protection. TrapBag® barrier systems can be installed within the dune in order to strengthen the core and prevent erosion.

Dunes protect other areas from erosion and flooding but during storm surge events the foot of dunes get eroded. By installing TrapBags® in the core of a dune you ensure that a system is in place for protection even if the rest of the dune is compromised during a storm event.

Get a quote on TrapBags today!

TrapBags set up for coastal erosion control

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