The use of grasses for dune stabilization along the Gulf coast with initial emphasis on the Texas coast.
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The 1622 mile coastline of the Gulf of Mexico varies from mainland sand beaches to marine marshes and offshore barrier islands. These barrier islands afford natural protection from tides, storm surges, and hurricane generated waves. During violent storms, wave heights will vary from 1-30 feet, depending on depth of water and storm intensity. Significant erosion does take place in the low areas due to the effects of overgrazing, man's destruction, fire and storm surges which have stripped large areas. Padre Island, Texas, is the site of a study to establish specifications for rebuilding and revegetation of the primary dunes. Different species of grasses which have the necessary attributes for beach plantings such as ability to grow in the salt spray zone, to trap sand, and to continue growth during sand accumulation are discussed and results are presented.