Building and Managing a Man Made Dune Ecosystem

ASBPA 2015 National Coastal Conference ABSTRACT
Robert H. Barron Coastal Management and Consulting
7611 Lawrence Rd., Boynton Beach, Fl. 33436
561-441-1446, <>
Building and Managing aMan Made Dune Ecosystem,
A Thirty Five Year Case Study
The three mile shoreline of the City of Delray Beach, Florida , critically eroded in the
late 1960's has benefited from a repeated beach nourishment program dating to
1973. Dune restoration, initiated in the mid seventies on the man made beach and
developing into a Comprehensive Dune Habitat Management Program has yielded a
160+ foot shore normal functional dune system with sixty native plant species,
including several seeding populations classified as Threatened or Endangered . The
long term goal has been to restore the historically correct pioneer and coastal
strand zone ecosystems, and enjoy all the benefits of the shore stabilization,
ecologic, and aesthetic values delivered by the dune. The project was modeled after
remnant wild beach dunes and designed and staged to replicate natural function
and succession.
This presentation will review the thirty five year history of dune construction and
management at Delray Beach, including one mile of public project and two miles of
individual private efforts which have moved the science of dune management
forward through voluntary private investment. We will discuss political issues
which influenced the design, such as vista vs storm protection, we will look at some
of the regulatory conflicts and constraints encountered, and discuss research to
improve techniques of planting and utility of pedestrian control, sand fence, and
accessway design. Methods, observations and lessons learned will be of value to
those who undertake to establish and manage coastal dunes, especially on
engineered beaches.
The Powerpoint preservation will be illustrated with photos of the developmental
history of the project, and augmented with graphics related to costs, benefits, and
public perception.
The author, Robert H. Barron, has led the design and permitting of the project,
supervised the planting, and provided much of the nursery stock and rare plants
installed into the dune. Rob has given six presentations on dune related topics to
conferences of the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Assn, and National
Conferences on Beach Preservation technology, and owns a business engaged solely
in dune restoration and management with over 1200 projects completed in Florida
and the Caribbean.