March 3, 2013

Dune erosion is not a small challenge

Did you know that a chunk of the recently approved multibillion dollar Hurricane Sandy relief bill will be spent in Virginia? New Jersey and Connecticut were not the only shorelines battered by that storm. Even NASA's Kennedy Space Center got walloped. Which brings me back to Virginia.

Some of the $15 million for NASA will go to their facility on Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia to rebuild the sand dunes there.

But Mother Nature always has the last word when it comes to shoreline erosion. Some dune refurbishment projects are indeed a success. See the photo above of one section of Edisto Beach in South Carolina. I watched the plantings go in a year ago on top of rebuilt dunes, and now the sands are really building up around them.

The 2009 Dune Vulnerability Team that is rebuilding some of the dunes is a joint effort with NASA, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Florida.