Coastal dunes are habitat for wildlife and support a high biodiversity of flora and fauna. They also keep beaches healthy by accreting sand and minimizing beach erosion rates. The dunes protect coastal infrastructure and upland properties from storm damage by blocking storm surge and absorbing wave energy. A healthy dune system is an invaluable asset to coastal communities like Miami Beach.
Native salt-resistant vegetation is a key component of a healthy dune system. Their stems trap and accumulate wind-blown sand, building up the dune and creating a sand reservoir for the system. Their roots stabilize the accumulated sand and significantly minimize erosion during high tides and storms. Additionally, during storms, the vegetation absorbs wave energy, blocks storm surge, and protects coastal infrastructure. Therefore, the long-term success of the beach and the upland properties is dependent on the health of the City’s dune system.