Humboldt Coastal Resilience Project
Miles of dune enhancement and restoration in Humboldt and Del Norte counties since the 1980s, with plans for additional restoration.
Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge has been a restoration site since the 1980s and is a site for ongoing monitoring of long-term results.
Over this time, several research studies have been conducted on various planting and invasive removal techniques utilized to maintain a healthy balance of foredune erosion and accretion during restoration provides. Information on this historic dune restoration work can be found at: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/humboldt_bay/wildlife_and_habitat/dunesrestoration.html
In June 2015, the Humboldt Coastal Resilience Project was launched. Phase 1 of the project started with a 5-year study to improve understanding of sediment movement along the entire Eureka littoral cell and identify potential vulnerabilities to climate change and potential response to future sea level rise. Components of the study include: bi-annual GPS beach surveys and an analysis of historic shoreline change, creation and monitoring of two adaptation projects, and native dune grass propagation.
Phase 2 tasks include: 1) continuation of littoral cell cross-shore transects, resulting in a total of 5 years of data, 2) monitoring of the Lanphere and Eel River adaptation sites, 3) replication of the Lanphere adaptation site methodology in a new location, 4) an update to the Eureka littoral cell fluvial sediment budget, 5) completion of a vulnerability assessment for the study site, 6) modeling of responses of the beach-dune barrier complexes to sea level rise and extreme event scenarios, and 7) a stakeholder involvement group, and 8) outreach activities.
In December 2022, the State Coastal Conservancy authorized a grant to Friends of the Dunes to restore and enhance 80 acres of dune habitat to increase resiliency on the Wadulh Unit of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Wadulh is the word for dunes in the Wiyot language. The name Wadulh was selected in recognition of the Wiyot Tribe’s significant cultural connection to the project area. The project will remove invasive plants and replant the area with native dune species to restore dune ecosystem function and increase dune resilience to climate change and impacts from sea level rise.
Monitoring results and project updates can be found on the Friends of the Dunes website: https://www.friendsofthedunes.org/hcrp
Project Partners: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Coastal Conservancy, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the California Conservation Corps, Friends of the Dunes, UC Santa Barbara, the Ocean Protection Council, USC SeaGrant, the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention crews, State Parks, Bureau of Land Management, The Wildlands Conservancy, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, Flinders University, Arizona State University and the consulting firm GHD.