Sunday, November 1, volunteers organized by Youth Environment Alliance (YEA) created the very first “resilient dune” in the North Beach section of Hollywood.
Over 50 volunteers planted 2,500 sea oats in front of the existing dune at Charleston Street and Surf Road. Sea Oats are an attractive and important plant of the coastal community. The golden brown seed heads from this plant are sometimes used in floral arrangements, but more importantly, sea oats play a vital role in shoreline stabilization.
Youth Environment Alliance (YEA) is a South Florida-based 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide education and facilitate participation in environmental activities to diverse people of all abilities. YEA has been instrumental in providing all-inclusive educational programs that focus on Florida’s unique ecosystems and wildlife – highlighting the importance of outdoor ethics, safety, and environmental stewardship, while providing a fun learning atmosphere.
In the past, storm surge has channeled through beach access points and caused damage to property and vital infrastructure behind the dune. The massive root system of the sea oats is capable of holding soil and sand in place during extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms. It is also capable of catching blowing sand and building dunes, putting sea oats at the forefront of shoreline protection.
The goal of this project, which has been in the works for over a year and has been a priority project for both YEA and Hollywood North Beach Association (HNBA), is to use the natural feature as an example of a way to make coastal communities more resilient during storms.
“Being here so many years, I’ve seen what happens during storms when the water rushes through access points to the beach and really creates a problem in the neighborhoods,” says John Passalaqua, president of the HNBA – which contributed $2500 to secure a matching grant to fund the project and has been instrumental in gaining needed approvals. “By installing this natural feature we don’t impact beach access, but we do make a difference when it comes to protecting property.” Sea Oats also provide food and habitat for birds, small animals and insects.
Since 2012, YEA has worked on several community-based shoreline resiliency projects allowing citizens to participate in helping make Hollywood beaches more resistant to erosion.
“We appreciate the support the City of Hollywood has provided and look forward to making our coastal communities more resilient,” says Lee Gottlieb, Director of Community Outreach for YEA.
For more information about additional projects in the works for the remainder of this year and into 2016, visit their website www.yeafrog.org.