Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary has some 83 accessible beaches and
24 dune systems. Experts refer to the beaches and dunes created
many thousands of years ago as "relic landscapes." These
relic landscapes do not receive new sand material for expansion,
but even today the beaches and dunes are dynamic, as sand moves
up and down the coast. Wave action piles sand up on the beaches
and the constant northwesterly winds move the sand from the north
to the south.
sand dune environment is a harsh setting for plants and animals.
There are a few specialized plants that can survive the difficult
conditions such as the: Dune grass, Hottentot Fig, California Poppy,
Beach Morning Glory, Sea Rocket, Mock heather and the Blue Lupine.
on the sand dunes are hard to see in the midday but they leave tracks
that can easily be seen as you walk through the dunes. Many of the
animals live in burrows. Animals such as deer mice, and the black
legless lizard forage at night. Burrowing owls, cottontail rabbits
and jack rabbits share the dunes with several types of snakes including
the western diamond rattlesnake. Of the many insects that inhabit
the dunes the is the Smith's blue butterfly an endangered species.
of the sand dunes centers around clearing the dunes of exotic weeds
and ice plants and reintroducing native plant species. Regional
Park employees and volunteers hand pick native dune plant seeds
and use these seeds to restore the dunes. Straw is used to stabilize
the dunes until the young native plants take hold. Another type
of restoration utilizes bulldozers for shaping the dunes and spraying
a mulch type seed mixture to apply the native plant seeds onto the
dunes. Restoration areas are marked and are fragile areas.
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