Horsfall Beach

Horsfall Beach at the southern end of the Oregon Dunes. Photo by Dina Pavlis.

The Oregon Dunes, the longest stretch of coastal dunes in the United States, is a dynamic landscape.  Their dynamism depends on moving sand. The introduction of non-native species, especially the highly invasive European beachgrass, has created a severe threat to the dunes, through stabilizing the sand and preventing its movement.

The U.S. Forest Service, manager of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, has assembled a working group consisting of representatives of many stakeholder constituencies, tasked with developing an “Oregon Dunes Restoration Strategy.”  Long-time CoastWatcher Mark Tilton represents Oregon Shores in this process.

During meetings in the course of 2016, the working group outlined a three-pronged restoration strategy: preserve the components of the dunes ecosystem that are currently functioning best; restore conditions and processes (open sand, rare habitats) at specific sites; and restore landscape-level processes such as sand movement (this last the biggest challenge).

The final strategy document is a bit behind schedule and is now expected to be final by the end of the calendar year.  There will be a draft available for comment before it is finalized.  Grants are already being sought to support such activities as signage and invasive species removal.
The working group will continue, it was decided at an Oct. 21 meeting, with the new name Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative (ODRC). It was also decided to spin off several “committees” to better manage the types of work needed: Mission/Organizational Structure; Project Development; Funding; Monitoring; and Education, Communications and Public Awareness.  Citizens interested in management of the Dunes are invited to join a committee.  Contact Jane Kertis of the Forest Service, jkertis@fs.fed.us.

More information on the Oregon Dunes Restoration Strategy is available online .   For more information or to get directly involved, contact Donni Vogel (dvogel@fs.fed.us) or Jane Kertis (jkertis@fs.fed.us) of the Siuslaw National Forest staff.