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Dune Protection

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The Land Office provides the following tips so you can help protect and promote the growth of sand dunes along the Texas shoreline. Vegetation is vital to keeping dunes stable and healthy. Use our planting tips and planting zone map to help with your vegetation planting and care.


Why Protect Sand Dunes?
  • Dunes help prevent loss of life and property, absorb the impact of storm surge and high waves, and stop or slow the intrusion of water inland
  • Dunes store sand that helps mitigate shoreline erosion
  • Dunes enhance the beauty of the coast
  • Dunes serve unique biological and ecological functions and provide habitat for threatened and endangered species
Promoting Dune Growth and Stabilization
  • All impacts to dunes must receive a permit from the local government (county or city)
  • Avoid disturbance and construction within critical dune areas
  • Contact the local government and the Land Office if disturbance cannot be avoided
  • Minimize the impacts
  • Mitigate for all impacts
  • Compensate for all impacts with a minimum of a 1:1 ratio
  • Keep pedestrians and vehicles off the dunes
Dune Walkovers
  • Elevated walkovers protect the dunes
  • Walkovers should be conveniently located and constructed to be accessible for persons with disabilities
  • Walkovers should begin landward of the foredunes and end no farther than 10 feet from the natural line of vegetation (exceptions may be made for Texas Accessibility Standards compliant walkovers)
Dune Restoration
  • All projects must be issued permits by local governments
  • All dune restoration projects should be no farther than 20 feet seaward of the line of vegetation
  • All dune building structures other than trees and brush should be removed after they serve their purpose
  • Dune restoration projects should not interfere with the use of the public beach or beach access
  • Dune restoration projects should be protected from pedestrian traffic
  • Signs should be placed informing the public about the project and its importance
Sand Fencing
  • A maximum height of 4 feet
  • Oriented perpendicular to the prevailing winds
  • Needs to be non-continuous and angled at 30° so it doesn’t interfere with nesting sea turtles
  • Fencing should not be a safety hazard
  • Sand collected by fencing needs to be vegetated
Use of Vegetation
  • Planting native vegetation is best
  • Transplanted vegetation from the local area is more likely to survive
  • Obtain permission before removing plants from surrounding property
Tips for Planting
  • Mid-winter to late spring is optimal time
  • Take plants from healthy, dense stands
  • Avoid areas that are subject to increased erosion
  • Leave more than you take
  • Take plants with a sharp shovel to avoid root damage
  • Plants should be placed at least 6 inches deep on 3-foot centers
  • Transplant after rain or water the area before planting, continue to water after planting
  • One thousand plants should stabilize a strip that is 50 feet by 100 feet
  • Apply mulch such as hay to stabilize the sand before and after plantings, but do not over mulch (generally 3,000 lbs. of hay per acre)
  • Fertilizer may be applied during the first year (12-6-6 fertilizer is recommended)
  • Intersperse Bitter Panicum with lesser amounts of Sea Oats to minimize the risk of disease and pest infestation

Links to Additional Resources



Rajiv Vedamanikam
Upper Coast
Rajiv Vedamanikam
Natalie Bell
Middle Coast & Lower Coast
Natalie Bell
Jason Pinchback