A boardwalk is a great way to get to the dunes for many reasons. It helps us to walk more easily over sand that shifts. More importantly, a boardwalk helps protect the dune from erosion and the loss of plant life. Building a boardwalk over or near the dunes can be different from building near other types of habitats. It requires special considerations because of the sand and fragile dune ecosystem.
Permits for Dune Building
Dune ecosystems are fragile, and it’s difficult to rebuild a dune if it is damaged. Because of this, most states require permits before you begin construction of a dune walkover. In Florida, The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issues permits for beach construction and issues requirements and guidelines to prevent beach erosion and any damage to plants. The Florida DEP requires permits depending on the distance from the high water line and whether there is a Coastal Construction Control Line established in the area. Regardless of the specific measurements, you should ask about permits anytime there is construction along the coast. Outside of Florida, check with your local statutes to find out about any permit requirements and building guidelines.
Protecting the Dune
The main goal of regulations for dune building is to protect the dune. The location, design, and construction method have to keep the disturbance of plants to a minimum as well as minimize the use of any construction materials that may be lost during a storm. This keeps any lost materials from becoming debris. Another way states preserve the dunes is by requiring you to replace anything lost during the building process. If a plant is destroyed, you should replace it with the same type of plant after construction is complete.
In most cases, dune walkovers must be elevated with posts. This keeps the structure from harming plant life by allowing plenty of air and sunlight in. It also ensures that people aren’t walking on the delicate dune. Dunes grow and change over time because sand builds up from the shoreline, so space allows the evolution of the dune. The exact height depends on the dune itself and the type of plants. Nature Bridges uses top down construction around dunes – and in other ecologically sensitive areas – to limit how much we need to disturb the area. This helps protect the site and ensures that we stay within the state’s requirements. Our design includes a careful assessment of the beach and dune to ensure that we don’t destroy any plants along the path of the boardwalk. When we do, we also comply with the state’s mandate of replacing any vegetation loss that cannot be avoided. Nature Bridges has spent years perfecting our construction process to avoid any loss of habitat. Call Nature Bridges first when you need boardwalk construction or any type of bridge building in nature.