Wild Weather Affecting Sand Dunes

Sand dunes along Pāpāmoa Beach

Coastal Care Bay of Plenty mentioned to locals that sand dunes are a natural buffer between land and sea, with a healthy dune system being our first line of defence against coastal flooding.

Recently, some of our Bay of Plenty sand dunes have taken a bit of a battering from wild weather and king tides.  These kinds of events are predicted to become more common due to both rising sea levels and increasing storm intensity as a result of climate change.

After big storms, sand is lost from our dunes in a process called erosion. But when weather settles down and weather patterns change sand usually comes back by a process called accretion.  This is when smaller waves push sand back onto the beach, the wind then pushes the sand into the dune system where it gets trapped by our native sand dune plants and rebuilds the sand dune system. 

So, though it may look like some of our dunes are in danger at the moment we need to remember this is a natural process and they do regenerate themselves over time.