On Monday, June 17, I accompanied my husband Uri and some friends out to the Manila dunes. As an avid beachcomber and photographer, I've been asked to document the progress of the dune rebuilding experiment ("Rogue Dune Experiment," June 20). This simple and unobtrusive procedure is successfully being used on the East Coast, which is still reeling from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. On Sunday, June 23, we hiked out to the test site and were shocked to find that someone had pulled up the wooden slats that had been positioned in the dunes to catch blowing sand. Really? Is this experiment so threatening that someone has to vandalize it?
After seeing the effects of the beach grass pulling, and the moving dunes swallowing up dune forests and wetlands, I applaud the bold and simple effort being made to regain the dunes that protect our coastline and the infrastructure behind it. Beach grass stabilizes the dunes, helping them grow higher and protect the homes, schools, roads, water and power lines just inland from the shore. It has also created wetlands and forests behind those dunes, a unique environment I enjoy walking in.
The beach grass pullers want to see the dunes change shape and migrate inland, hoping to increase habitat for threatened bird and plant species. But who is monitoring the dune wetlands and forests, and the species living there now threatened by moving sand?
I hope these two differing viewpoints can reach an agreement beneficial to both the people and the wildlife living behind the dunes. In the meantime, let's please leave the wooden slats in place, and watch and learn something in the process.
Chris Pratt, Arcata