Protecting Oregon dunes from sea level rise

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley as well as U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici and Val Hoyle have announced that Oregon State University has secured a $500,000 federal grant to assess the impact of backshore dune environments to sea level rise in the Pacific Northwest.

USACE photo

Backshore dune environments are the part of the seashore between the beach and the coastline covered by water only during storms of exceptional severity.

“Coastal communities in Oregon and nationwide are staring down the threat of sea level rise caused by climate change,” Wyden said. “I’m glad OSU’s world-renowned researchers have secured this federal investment to determine how an incredibly important part of our coastal ecosystems like dunes, can be valuable tools in the fight for a sustainable future.”

“Oregon coastal communities and their economies rely on the health and vitality of their ecosystems,” said Merkley“This critical research – being done right here by OSU researchers – will prepare coastal communities to be resilient and overcome the challenges of climate chaos, including sea level rise and coastal erosion.”

“Natural structures like backshore dunes have tremendous potential to help mitigate climate change,” said Bonamici“I’m grateful for Oregon State University’s work to study these protective structures along the Oregon coast. This funding will make a difference in the fight against climate change and sea level rise.”

“As coastal erosion and flooding increase along our coastlines, there is growing interest in the use of natural and nature-based structures in mitigating this threat,” said Dr. Sally Hacker, Professor, Oregon State University. “We are excited because this project is the first of its kind to explore the economic and environmental value of dunes and cobble beaches as protective structures in the Pacific Northwest, including work specifically in Tillamook and Clatsop Counties.