North Pacific Maritime Coastal Sand Dune and Strand

Coastal dunes include beach strand not the beach itself but sparsely or densely vegetated areas behind the beach, foredunes, sand spits, and active to stabile dunes and sandsheets derived from quartz or gypsum sands. They are found throughout the northern Pacific Coast, from south-central Alaska to the central Oregon coast to roughly Coos Bay. A pattern of sometimes very open and sometimes very dense vegetation on dunes is driven by sand deposition and erosion caused by wind and occasional wave overwash during storm tidal surges. Saltwater inlets and tidal marshes may be nearby. Plant life typically includes herbaceous, succulent, shrub, and tree species with varying degrees of tolerance for salt spray, wind and sand abrasion, and substrate stability. Common species include sand ryegrass, red fescue, American dunegrass, or various forbs. Salal and evergreen blueberry are commonly seen shrub species. Some dunes may have patches of young shore pine. For more information, see NatureServe Explorer.

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