May 302013

sand dunes 4 We have some bad news to report on this project.  The permitting process became very complicated.  This was primarily because we have no structure on our property and so do not qualify for permits for additions.  Your committee is not qualified to pursue the exceptions needed and the technical data required to go for variances for this project.  That means we have to hire representatives for that help.  In addition, the original estimates for the project were for a walkway that did not reach the beach.  When the added length was calculated, the cost doubled.  We, as your officers, do not think we can justify spending $85,000 for the project at this time.

We have 48% of our members who have made donations to the project, about $23,000 and we proposed to return those donations.  If, in the future, it becomes possible to revisit the project we will make a new appeal for support.  We are all disappointed.  The following articles continue to be important reminders about how to protect our beach.

Here is a reprint of an email from the Clearwater Beach Association emphasizing why sand dunes matter.  It is followed by a list of things you can do to protect sand dunes. 

CBA Newsletter January 17, 2013:  Research has demonstrated that dune vegetation is sensitive to damage by human disturbance.  Dunes are vulnerable to wind erosion once the anchoring vegetation is damaged or destroyed.  Without effective conservation measures we stand to lose an already limited resource. To protect these fragile ecosystems, we need to become aware and sensitive to the vulnerability of these important coastal features.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publication:  Image 5

3 Things you can do to Protect Sand Dunes:

Use Dune Walkovers and Designated Beach Access Points to Cross the Dunes.  Without dune vegetation, sand dunes become unstable.  Dune plants tolerate harsh beach conditions including wind, salt spray, storms, scarce nutrients, limited fresh water, and intense sunlight and heat.  However, they cannot with stand the pounding of feet and vehicles.

Restore Damaged Sand Dunes.  Established sand dunes provide a strong defense against storms.  When sand dunes are damaged, you can help speed their recovery by installing sand fences and planting native dune vegetation.

Learn More About Sand Dunes and the Ways You Can Help Protect Them.  If you are not a good steward of the coastal environment, who will be?  Tell others about the importance of the dunes.  You don’t have to be an environmental expert to help protect sand dunes, you just have to care.

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