Living the Sunshine Life

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TIL: How Beach Sand Dunes Are “Made”

A redditor posted a photo in the r/jacksonville sub, asking what the purpose of this pipe is. Lots of people commented, and here’s what they said. (Original post on reddit here.)

So what are these pipes coming out of the ocean at Jacksonville Beach here in Florida? These pipes are used for dredging sand from the ocean, and the sand is moved up to the shoreline and used to build up the dunes. Our beaches need the dunes to deter storm surges, and beach communities work hard to maintain the height as well as the plants like the sea oats that grow on the dunes. 

I didn’t learn this bit about the plants from reddit today. A few years ago, when I was a proofreader for IFAS/EDIS, one of my editors worked with researchers to publish an amazing guide on dune restorations. It has so much information on propagating and maintaining dune plants. The document can be downloaded from the EDIS website

One redditor said that the dredging is on hold because there’s a chance the pipe will suck up spent military shells, e.g. dummy grenades, dummy bombs, and potentially live ammo. Eek. Another redditor who works at an area hotel says that the project foreman (staying at the hotel) is a bomb expert, and he was brought in due to the high military presence in the area. Jacksonville is home to the NAS, the naval Air Station, a huge station that cares for military planes. It’s why I see so many military aircraft flying overhead, back and forth, almost daily.

With temperatures this weekend in North Central Florida at around 100 F, why not wait until winter to do this work? A redditor noted that the ocean is rougher in the winter and it’s harder to keep barges that are offshore stable. (Not sure what the barges do exactly — are they holding the pumps?)

Another redditor provided more photos of the work and the pipe.

Of course, no reddit post is without jokesters, lol. Some good ones:

“The pipe is the overflow drain for the Atlantic, keeping the ocean from swallowing up Florida.”

“The pipe is the government destroying the beach to benefit beach-front property owners.”

“It’s so good that the sign is there. I always have a tendency to crawl into giant confined pipes that lead out into the middle of the ocean.”


Hope you learned something interesting today, too!

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