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Sun Times Feature Story

Volunteers Plant Dune To Help With Beach Erosion

Volunteers Plant Dune to help with Beach Erosion
Volunteers, organized by Youth Environmental Alliance (YEA), spent the first Sunday in November creating a “resilient dune” feature on the North Beach section of Hollywood Beach. Over 50 community and corporate volunteers from Citrix, planted 2500 sea oats in front of the existing dune at Charleston Street and Surf Road. The intent of the project is to use the natural dune feature to slow down and buffer the wave energy during storm surge. In the past, storm surge has channeled through beach access points and caused damage to property and vital infrastructure behind the dune.
“I’ve seen what happens during storms when the water rushes through access points to the beach and really creates a problem in the neighborhood,” says John Passalaqua president of the Hollywood North Beach Association (HNBA). “By installing this natural feature, we don’t impact beach access, but we do make a difference when it comes to protecting property.”
The HNBA and YEA worked in partnership with the City’s Department of Public Works to plan for the project to make this section of the Hollywood coastline more resilient. This project was funded through a Wells Fargo Foundation Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant.  It required matching funds of $2,500 which were provided by the HNBA.  
“The project was a great success on many different levels. It was truly a public, private and corporate collaboration,” says Lee Gottlieb, YEA Director of Community Outreach. “This is a model YEA has been using successfully for several years, and it’s this type of cooperation that will be required to deal effectively with climate change and rising sea levels in the future.”  
Volunteers prepared the area for planting spreading nutrient rich seaweed across the sand.  They installed posts to create a rope fence to help protect the new dune and then began planting the thousands of sea oats.  With this first “resilient dune” project successfully completed, the group is working to put together additional projects along Hollywood Beach.
For more on YEA and its activities, visit the website or check out the Facebook page for Youth Environmental Alliance.