Effect of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on backshore vegetation and dune development : beach impact study, Padre Island National Seashore
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The purpose of this study is to determine if the rapidly increasing vehicular and pedestrian traffic on the beaches of the Padre Island National Seashore is adversely affecting the long term stability of the vegetated foredune system. At each of the four study sites a pair of concrete and steel monuments was erected along a range line perpendicular to the local shoreline. This enables the survey crew to measure exactly the same profile line during each survey in order to accurately measure small amounts of erosion or accretion. During each survey, elevations are determined every 10 feet along the range line. A level loop including the stations at NOTRAF, PEDTRAF, and VEHTRAF has been closed so that those three stations are all relative to the same datum. The datum is approximately mean sea level as determined from local water level and a tide gage located at the Corpus Christi Water Exchange Pass. The datum for SHELL is also approximately mean sea level and was determined in the same fashion, but was not tied in to the other three stations by a level loop because of the distance involved. The study areas were profiled monthly from April 1974 through July 1974 and bimonthly thereafter. During the fall and winter study periods, qualitative vegetative data was collected at each of the four study sites during each survey. The species present in each zone of each study area were noted as well as their effectiveness in sand stabilization and trapping. During November 1974 detailed maps of the vegetation at NOTRAF and VEHTRAF were compiled in order to better understand the function of each species in sand stabilization. A similar map was compiled in SHELL during December. These maps are representative of the individual localities and broadly representative of each traffic usage level for the fall and early winter months.