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Posted on: July 8, 2017

About Protecting Our Sand Dunes

In Atlantic Beach, if someone sees someone disturbing sea oats, we want them to call the Police Department at 247-5859. Our department will respond accordingly. Photo and/or video documentation is very helpful.The crime is a state law punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Indeed, under state law, public access to the beach begins below the mean high tide line. Whether or not the ropes or other markings are there, it’s crucial to environmental health that people stay off the dunes.

The beach and dune system is our first line of defense against storms because they buffer coastal development from storm waves. Sea oats are extremely valuable for coastline and barrier island protection because their massive root systems hold soil and sand in place during hurricanes and tropical storms. Without the sea oats' roots, the sand is mobile. It doesn't have anything holding it in place. Further, the sand dunes are a habitat for lots of species, including sea turtles.

So … we strongly request that our residents and visitors use dune walkovers and designated beach access points to cross the dunes. In Atlantic Beach, the city advocates a land ethic that recognizes that landholding and use of land is a form of stewardship for the community, the environment, and to future generations. We hope that our residents will continually be messengers by telling others about the importance of protecting sand dune sand the environment. In other words, you don’t have to be an environmental expert to help protect sand dunes and the coastal environmental, you just have to care.

Then there’s this: Many beachgoers at Jacksonville’s beaches don’t realize that the coastline at the Beaches is now more visually similar to the 19th century than to how it appeared 40 or so years ago. Buried under the natural dunes and sea oats are remnants of an armored concrete seawall. Today, the 10 miles of Jacksonville’s dunes are maintained by the Duval County Shore Protection Project, a partnership between the Corps of Engineers and the City of Jacksonville, managed since 2005 by Jacksonville-based Olsen Associates Coastal Engineering, through which Atlantic Beach resident Kevin Bodge serves as the Beaches communities’ coastal consultant.

Renourishment takes place every five to seven years, as part of a 50-year authorization, extending through 2028.
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City of Atlantic Beach, FL - Official Seal
800 Seminole Road • Atlantic Beach, Florida 32233 • Ph. (904) 247-5800 • Fx. (904) 247-5805