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Help Save A Sand Dune In Caithness

15th September 2014

Photograph of Help Save A Sand Dune In Caithness

The conservation Volunteers Scotland are are an organisation that mobilises volunteers to carry out important work in many parts of Scotland. They are coming once again to Caithness and this time will be looking to help save the dunes near Wester that are suffering from erosion. Sand along with plants make an important contribution to the coastline of in parts of Caithness.

A natural barrier to the destructive forces of wind and waves, sand dunes are our first line of defense against coastal storms and beach erosion. They absorb the impact of storm surge and high waves, preventing or delaying flooding of inland areas and damage to inland structures. They are also sand storage areas that supply sand to eroded beaches during storms and buffer windblown sand and salt spray.

Due to the high energy "washing" effect of ocean and bay waves, soil, as we are accustomed to thinking of it, is converted to clean, relatively coarse mineral fragments (sand). The deposit of sand along the shore is subjected to the high winds common to the area where the sea meets the land, and is blown in every direction throughout the year. Where vegetation can get a foothold in the dry, unfertile sand, the windblown sand grains get batted down to the base of the plant and the sand surface incrementally rises, one grain at a time.

Over days, weeks and years, depending upon how hard the wind blows, dunes rise up out of the flat beach. Beach grass has adapted to being buried by the sand and it makes its way to the new surface as it gets buried. In time of large ocean storms waves crash into the dunes and the sand is re-supplied to the beach on front, which has been eroded in the early stages of the storm. The relationship of the beach and dune is an important symbiosis.

The Conservation Volunteers help hundreds of thousands of people each year to reclaim local green places. Through environmental projects and through a network of 2,000 community groups, they see people - every day, and all across the UK – taking responsibility for their own local environments.

Conservation Volunteers Scotland will carry out a programme of work over 6 weeks on the dunes near Bridge of Wester and the more pairs of hands they can get the more they can achieve.

If you would like to help with this important work and see it prevent more erosion in coming years then contact Rob Thomas the development officer - details on the poster.

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