By KEVIN RICH
Special to the PRESS
The City of South Padre Island Shoreline Task Force met on Monday, Aug. 22, to discuss a range of issues involving beach management, beach access and beach parking issues.
UTRGV student intern Shelby Bessette presented a report on her thesis data concerning beach management and dune restoration. She noted the high winds on the Island, ranging between 10 to 20 mph on average, are important in the dune building process. Dunes help to trap the windblown sand before reaching the streets or completely blowing off of the Island.
Understanding the perceptions of beachgoers was another point emphasized by Bessette. “It’s important to understand what our (beach) visitors want, and we need to incorporate this, the social and cultural aspects, into our decisions.”
The report also highlighted the complex nature of dunes and their importance in providing a habitat for animals, as a barrier to salt spray and wind, and for protection from erosion. The data collected demonstrated as restoration areas aged, they became more like natural dunes and also grew in both volume and height. Based on the findings, she recommended for SPI Shoreline Management to continue with dune restoration projects, to take note of over wash areas and prepare those soils properly before planting, to limit activity in dune toe areas, and to protect any damaged areas to allow them to heal naturally.
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