Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Coastal dunes and coastal ecosystems can save your home

Surely, after Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, we all know the risks of building a home on the coast. But still, people want to live near water and coastal developments are booming. NOAA calculated that 39% of the US population lives on or near the shoreline. No wonder the Midwest is so sparsely populated! So how can we protect people's homes that live right on the shoreline when they have obviously built in an area subject to high risk? There is a natural solution. It has long been recognized that when a natural buffer is left between the home and the water sources, the home is less likely to be damaged heavily. That means, at the beach, we should leave natural, vegetated dune systems, trees, wide beaches, wetlands, and back-bays in a natural state. When a storm does come ashore, these natural systems can absorb the damage caused by wind, water, and energy much better than your home can. Plus, these ecosystems are typically naturally resistant or resilient to damage.

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