Dune Restoration and Research

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Fast Facts: What is dune restoration? Photograph of several volunteers with buckets full of dune grass ready to plant. Purpose is to illustrate the volunteer dune restoration experience.

Dunes are extremely important to coastal resilience. Compared to their neighbor, the beach, they are sometimes overlooked, but they are a vibrant and critical ecosystem in their own right. Dunes provide a sand source to nourish eroding beaches, protect inland infrastructure by acting as a barrier to storm surge and flooding, and serve as wildlife habitat. When dunes become degraded, they lose some of their ability to play some of these important roles.

CRV is closely related to another program of UNH and NH Sea Grant, the Coastal Habitat Restoration Team, which works to restore and maintain healthy dunes in New Hampshire and Massachusetts through a very grass-roots approach. Through work with the Restoration Team, community members plant native grasses, install sand fencing, post eduational signage, and actively survey the dunes to document sand gains and losses. Community members are also active participants in research on dune resilience and restoration methods.


Volunteer Description: What do dune restoration volunteers do?

Volunteer Experience: Volunteers contribute in many ways to projects building dune resilience in their communities. The Coastal Habitat Restoration Team engages coastal communities in all stages of this work, including community meetings and on-the-ground restoration work. Opportunities will be advertised locally in coastal communities and in the Coastal Research Volunteers newsletter.

Time Frame: Dune restoration activities occur year-round, so you are welcome to contribute as much as you are able!

Project Impacts: To see the impacts of the Coastal Habitat Restoration Team's work, you don't have to look farther than the beaches we work on! The Restoration Team has established 25 permanent dune survey transects, a community garden of dune grass used for restoration, and works closely with coastal Conservation Commissions to facilitate public meetings. The Team has worked with over 1000 students and 30 teachers in dune restoration work; building coastal resilience is truly a community effort!


  • Interest in improving coastal resilience and strengthening coastal communities


  • Meet people from your community with similar interests
  • Opportunities to engage with local community groups, Conservation Commissions, and others involved in coastal communities
  • Contribute to ongoing efforts to improve our understanding of beach resilience

Questions? For more information or if you would like to join the Coastal Habitat Restoration Team, contact Alyson Eberhardt.


Upcoming Opportunities: Join our dune restoration and research effort!

Join us at Salisbury Beach on Friday, May 5, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. to help restore the Salisbury dunes.

About this event: Volunteers are needed to help restore the Salisbury Sand Dunes! Join us in planting native dune vegetation to restore the Salisbury, MA dunes. The area we will be planting was washed away by a series of nor'easters in recent years. The area was nourished with sand, and we will be planting in this newly deposited sand to help stabilize the dunes. Sand dunes play a critical role in protecting communities during storm events. The grass we plant will help build the dunes that, in turn, will help protect homes, businesses, and infrastructure, stabilize the beaches, and provide habitat for wildlife.

What to Bring: Please bring a water bottle, snacks, and weather appropriate clothing. We will provide all equipment.

Register for the Event: Please follow this link to register and for details on the meet-up location.


Learn More: Links, resources, and partner organizations

Want to learn more? Read all about the Coastal Habitat Restoration Team's efforts in Newbury, MA, check out this fact sheet for homeowners on reducing coastal erosion and storm damage, and read through this article in the Seacoast Online about the Coastal Habitat Restoration Team's work on the dunes in Seabrook.


Photograph of many volunteers working in a dune restoration area that has been roped off. Purpose is to illustrate the dune restoration volunteer community experience.