Wherever the sea meets the beach, grains of sand are blown landward by ocean breezes. A few yards from the tide’s edge, the sand gathers itself in a lone wrinkle that runs the length of the shore, parallel to the surf. This first pinch of land is the foredune, formed where bits of shell or debris cause the flow of wind to slow and drop grains of sand in a long pile. It usually stands several yards landward of the beach face (the zone where waves wash across the sand) and the berm (where the land rises gradually and sunbathers love to recline). The foredune may vary in height from a barely discernible ridge to one that is thirty or forty feet. It is generally covered with vegetation, which traps grains of sand and holds the dune in place. If plants covering a portion of this coastal ridge are destroyed by traffic or erosion, sand will again fly free and the foredune will breach. The broken link within the dune line will begin to migrate, blown inland by the force of the maritime wind.

Jan DeBlieu