Can Reviving Beach Dunes Help California with Sea Level Rise

Along a postcard stretch of Southern California, beneath the geologic grandeur of Point Dume, Sara Cuadra cradled a rake and prodded what seemed like just a patch of white sand.

To the untrained eye, this was just another pretty spot in Malibu — a popular site for film shoots and Instagrams, body surfing and long walks by the sea. But here among the bluffs of Westward Beach, where the shoreline has quietly eroded with each passing year, Cuadra has spent weeks tending, square foot by square foot, a forgotten ecosystem that has long since been destroyed.

“That should do it,” she said, patting the sand with satisfaction. “I think we can start seeding.”

Now, with the looming threat of sea level rise and a state desperate for solutions, conservationists and a growing movement of researchers say restoring these dunes could provide a much-needed buffer from the water…

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