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Dune Evaluation

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Dunes: Artificially defended; naturally retreating. How do humans influence dunes? What management strategies are in place for coastal dunes in Nova Scotia, Canada? Nature is not static, thus it would make sense that coastlines, too, would be in constant fluxuation. For millions of years the morphology of Nova Scotian [see Figure1], as well as global, coastlines have been changing. Beaches are a fine balance between accretion and depletion of sediments but go through cycles of creation and destruction (Taylor). Dunes, the accrual of beach sediment, act as a barrier against storm surges and as a habitat for coastal species, including many types of dune grass, birds and insects. Generally the dunes in Nova Scotia are moving landward (Taylor). However, it is when costal erosion interferes with human development, that it becomes a problem. Humans have the ability to protect the forty-five dunes, over a kilometer in length in many different manners (Hale), including hard and soft defenses or leaving an area to the course of nature. ...read more.


Another effective hard defense is a fence. This can be simple, in that it need only be wooden slats [See Photo 3 (melmerby.ca)]. The idea behind a fence is that it will keep humans and animals, which would potentially destroy the dune, off. An example of such a destroyed dune is one in Waterside. The boardwalk protected the rear dunes, so they flourished, but the boardwalk ended on the crest of the foredune, and caused erosion from repeated trampling. [Photo 4]. Alternatively, at Melmerby Beach, also in Pictou County [Photo 5 (melmerby.ca)], the boardwalk has protected the dunes completely. The dune grass is healthy for the entirety of the back dunes, and there is no erosion ridge on the foredune. On the other hand, a fence could be so simple as a rope with a sign posted. ...read more.


The edges of this stone can be seen in Photo 9. After cobble nutrification, which was used to protect the leeside of a groyne, there has been a return of more sand [Photo 10]. Each management strategy against erosion has both benefits and drawbacks. In general, natural defenses are not for combating erosion, rather protecting against it in the first place. Hard defenses are used to stop or reverse erosion, but do not tend to be aesthetically pleasing. Natural-looking soft defenses are also semi-strong. They can withstand more than natural dunes can but tend to be costly in repair and maintenance. Humans influence dunes both positively and negatively. For each positive solution, there was something negative initially, for it to be put in place. We must also remember that we are the only ones who sculpt the earth, no other species tries. There have nearly always been beaches, and the coastlines have continuously been in constant fluxuation. Thus we need to weigh the pros and the cons of letting nature take its course (Taylor). ...read more.

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