Success of Dune Restoration After Removal of UXO

by Catherine J. Demos, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waltham, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The discovery of unexploded ordnance (UXO) at South Beach, a popular recreational beach on Martha's Vineyard island in Massachusetts, necessitated that the area be declared an emergency site. The Army Corps of Engineers (COE), through the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP), designed a plan for the removal of UXO from the beach site. Coordination with other agencies and the expertise of the Army and Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams provided information needed to prepare a comprehensive plan for ordnance removal which minimized environmental impacts. The primary dune on South Beach was removed in the spring of 1989 to clear UXO from the underlying glacial till material. Once the UXO was removed from the till, the dune was replaced to its original configuration. The dune was revegetated with nursery stock of the Cape variety American beach grass Ammophila breviligulata to mitigate disturbance of the dune system, which provides backshore protection and sand stabilization. Sand fencing and a biodegradable mat were also used to control eolian erosion. A monitoring program was established to track the growth of beach grass. This paper discusses how removal of UXO from a beach ecosystem was accomplished, and the success and failures of the dune restoration program to date.

Subject Headings: Dunes | Water-based recreation | Islands | Coastal management | Ecological restoration | Erosion | Sand (hydraulic) | Sandy soils | Massachusetts | United States

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