Some of Fire Island's primary dunes east of Watch Hill are as high as 40 feet. Most of the primary dune line on the island, however, is much smaller. Behind many of the primary dunes lies a series of crescent-shaped secondary dunes, with a low interdunal swale in between.
Dunes provide much-needed protection to back-barrier environments (including human development) against severe wave, wind, and storm events. In addition, these geomorphic features provide critical habitat to a variety of migratory birds and mammals.
Dune vegetation is very important for the formation and stabilization of dune complexes on barrier islands. Both the root system and exposed vegetation restrict sand movement around plants, helping to secure the dune.
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Did You Know?
In the mid-1970s, Fire Island's deer herd consisted of only about 50 white-tailed deer. By 2005, the number was estimated to be 500-700 deer. More...