Coastal Dunes Under Fire

BY: DAVID FLORES

 

dunes.jpg

Very recently, federal authorities stopped construction on sand dunes in Todos Santos’ Las Tunas beach, thanks to reports on social media from several concerned citizens.

Coastal dunes are a ridge, or a series of ridges, that form at the rear of a beach and differ from most other constructional coastal landforms in that they are formed by the movement of air (aeolian transport) rather than by tidal, wave, or current action. Initiation of aeolian transportation is controlled by wind velocity, the characteristics of sediments, beach morphology, moisture content, and the degree of roughness elements present (e.g., driftwood and vegetation). The movement of sediment into the back-beach environment often results in the formation of coastal dunes.

Natural sand dunes play a vital role in protecting our beaches, coastline and coastal developments from coastal hazards such as erosion, coastal flooding and storm damage. Sand dunes protect our shorelines from coastal erosion and provide shelter from the wind and sea spray.

Sand dunes also provide a future supply of sand to maintain the beach. The wider the band of dunes, the larger the reservoir of sand. The height of natural dunes also provides protection from coastal flooding from storm surge and wave action.

Destruction of sand dunes in Los Cabos area increases the risk of serious damage to hotels and homes along the shoreline. Hence, our Southern Baja state’s criminal code sanctions it with jail time and a steep fine, which cost depends on the size of damage done.