Improving the health of Lake Huron coastal dunes through the development of a stewardship guide

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Callaghan, Tara
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University of Guelph

As one of North America's most unique and fragile ecosystems, coastal dunes provide shoreline protection by tolerating the forceful effects of wind and water. However, dunes are highly sensitive to human disturbance. Increased development pressure along the Lake Huron shoreline poses multiple threats to dune landscapes. Although local efforts have been made to protect dunes on publicly-owned land, there remains a need to address land use issues at the private ownership level. This research develops a stewardship guide to educate private landowners on dune ecology and better management practices. A literature review and interviews with key informants are used to identify: major land use issues including those related to development, overuse, invasive species and pollution; best practices to address these issues, as well as; obstacles preventing the implementation of such practices. This research contributes to the improved health of coastal dunes along Lake Huron, while creating an opportunity to stimulate stewardship efforts for related ecosystems.

Lake Huron, Coastal dunes, Health, Stewardship guide, Private ownership