The Save the Dunes organization was able to literally save a dune through a partnership with the Town of Long Beach, and funding provided in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program.
Beginning in 2019, Save the Dunes and the Town of Long Beach began the project to restore the natural dune habitat and enhance public access at “Stop 24”, one of the town’s public dune and lakeshore access sites. Save the Dunes said that Stop 24 was overrun with invasive plant species, and that the path to access the beach and Lake Michigan was incredibly steep and treacherous.
In 2020, the Town of Long Beach hired a contractor who completed site grading, installation of an ADA/ABA compliant path system, fencing installation, invasive species removal and native plant installation. Save the Dunes says that the site is now much more accessible to the public, and the dune habitat has been cleared of invasive plant species and stabilized with marram grass.
This year Save the Dunes provided the Town of Long Beach with a Maintenance Plan to ensure the long-term care of the site. They met with the Town of Long Beach staff and community members to talk about the restoration process and what needs to be done to help protect this vital ecosystem.
The new marram grass is already coming up, and the public is enjoying the direct, safe route to the beach.
Save the Dunes’ mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the Indiana dunes and all-natural resources in Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan Watershed for an enhanced quality of life. Visit www.savedunes.org or follow them on Facebook.