Letter Writer Sends in AI Generated Argument Against Removing Vegetation from Coastal Dunes

Welcome to our letters to the editor/opinion section. To submit yours for consideration, please send to [email protected]. Please consider including an image to be used–either a photograph of you or something applicable to the letter. However, an image is not necessary for publication.

Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of Redheaded Blackbelt nor have we checked the letters for accuracy.

Lanphere_Dunes.jpg

The skeleton forests of Lanphere Dunes exemplify the dynamic ecosystem that can be found here. [Photo by M Kauffmann via WikiCommons]

Please note that according to the letter writer, Daniel Edrich, the following piece was generated using Googles’ Bard AI. As far as we know, this is the first letter to the editor we’ve printed that originated in Artificial Intelligence.

Is it inadvisable to remove vegetation from a coastal dune?

In most cases, it is strongly inadvisable to remove vegetation from a coastal dune. Here’s why:

Vegetation plays a crucial role in stabilizing dunes:

  • Roots: The roots of dune plants, especially grasses and shrubs, bind the sand together, preventing erosion from wind and water. This is vital for protecting coastal communities and infrastructure from storm surges and flooding.
  • Shelter: Vegetation also creates a barrier against wind and waves, further reducing erosion. Additionally, it provides shelter for wildlife that depends on the dune ecosystem.
  • Microclimate: Plants create a more stable microclimate on the dunes, helping to regulate temperature and humidity, which is beneficial for both the plants and animals that live there.

Removing vegetation can have serious consequences:

  • Increased erosion: Without the stabilizing effect of vegetation, dunes become more susceptible to erosion, leading to loss of land, damage to property, and disruption of natural habitats.
  • Habitat loss: The removal of vegetation can destroy the habitat of many species that rely on the dunes, including rare and endangered plants and animals.
  • Changes in ecosystem function: The loss of vegetation can disrupt the delicate balance of the dune ecosystem, leading to changes in soil quality, nutrient cycling, and other important processes.

However, there are some rare exceptions where removing vegetation may be necessary:

  • Controlling invasive species: In some cases, it may be necessary to remove invasive plant species that are harming the dune ecosystem. However, this should be done carefully and with a plan to replant native vegetation afterwards.
  • Restoring specific dune types: In some rare cases, removing vegetation may be part of a carefully planned restoration effort to recreate a specific type of dune habitat. This should only be done by qualified professionals with a deep understanding of dune ecology.

In conclusion, the vast majority of the time, it is best to leave coastal dune vegetation undisturbed. The benefits it provides to the ecosystem and to coastal communities far outweigh any potential benefits of removal.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind:

  • If you are considering removing vegetation from a coastal dune, it is important to consult with a qualified ecologist or coastal management expert. They can help you assess the potential risks and benefits of your proposal and develop a plan that is in the best interests of the dune ecosystem.
  • There are many organizations that work to protect and restore coastal dunes. You can get involved by volunteering your time or donating to one of these organizations.

Daniel Edrich

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Ernie Branscombt
Guest
Ernie Branscombt
5 months ago

Artificial Intelligence nailed it. I wonder how it feels about human intrusion on the environment?

Mr. Clark
Member
Mr. Clark
5 months ago

Humans must be eliminated to protect the environment. The terminators are in production right now.
Skynet is a Cyberdyne product.

Last edited 5 months ago
well . . .
Guest
well . . .
5 months ago

I’m surprised that Dan included the points the completely refute his position as it relates to our local dunes.

Pat Bitton
Guest
Pat Bitton
5 months ago
Reply to  well . . .

Yes, that was my immediate reaction also.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Pat Bitton

Troubled comprehension?

  • ” this should be done carefully and with a plan to replant native vegetation afterwards.

Pat, name the plant that will replace Amophylla.
 This should only be done by qualified professionals with a deep understanding of dune ecology.”
Name your Qualified Coastal Engineer.

Mary Ann
Guest
Mary Ann
5 months ago

The better question is “Is it inadvisable to remove NON-NATIVE vegetation from a coastal dune?

“Is it inadvisable to remove non-native vegetation from a coastal dune?

The removal of non-native vegetation from a coastal dune can be a complex and context-dependent decision. While it might be tempting to remove non-native species in an effort to restore or protect native ecosystems, there are several factors that should be considered before taking such action:

  1. Ecological Impact: Assess the ecological impact of the non-native vegetation on the local ecosystem. Some non-native plants may not significantly harm native species, while others could outcompete or displace them. Consider whether the non-native vegetation is causing significant ecological harm.
  2. Biodiversity: Evaluate the biodiversity of the area. If the non-native vegetation is providing habitat and support for local wildlife, its removal could negatively affect the biodiversity of the ecosystem.
  3. Stability of Dunes: Some non-native vegetation might contribute to stabilizing coastal dunes by preventing erosion. Removing such vegetation could lead to increased vulnerability to erosion and other environmental stressors.
  4. Alternatives to Removal: Explore alternative approaches, such as selective removal or controlled management, to minimize potential negative impacts while still addressing concerns related to non-native species.
  5. Costs and Resources: Assess the costs and resources required for removal. In some cases, the resources needed to remove non-native vegetation may outweigh the benefits, especially if the ecological impact is not severe.
  6. Community and Stakeholder Involvement: Consider involving local communities and stakeholders in the decision-making process. Their perspectives and knowledge of the local environment can provide valuable insights and help build support for any management actions.
  7. Legal and Regulatory Considerations: Check for any legal restrictions or regulations related to the removal of non-native vegetation in the area. Some regions may have laws protecting certain plant species, and obtaining the necessary permits may be required.

In summary, it is not inherently inadvisable to remove non-native vegetation from a coastal dune, but careful consideration of the specific circumstances and potential consequences is essential. A balanced and informed approach, taking into account ecological, social, and economic factors, is crucial for making decisions about vegetation management in coastal ecosystems. Consulting with local environmental experts, conservation organizations, and relevant authorities can provide valuable guidance in this regard.”

Clearly a complex issue that has been studied at length. I don’t have the answers to this situation but I can see that native plants, especially along the South Jetty, have all but disappeared where ice plant and beach grass proliferate. Human intervention the cause, yes?

Mary Ann
Guest
Mary Ann
5 months ago
Reply to  Mary Ann

While one can read this as support for non-removal appears quite similar to the content in Dan’s information, there are notable differences. The summary explains it well.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Mary Ann

What is missing is what is required by the State (Porter/Cologne, CDP, Coastal Act, common sense), for instance, Manila can NOT approve any project that diminishes wetlands or wildlife. Our goals were/are to enhance wetlands- thus enhancing wildlife habitat.
When diminishing wetlands were reported to Ms. Pickart she replied that those trees and constructed wetlands “don’t belong there” (NCJ Bad Weed)
Friends of the Dunes gave assurance that those parameters would be recognized.
When it became apparent that our trees were dying, wetlands were drying-out and erosion was out of control, we asked them to begin planting.
Decades later and they’ve planted nothing but flowers that sprout in spring as a contrivance, which EcoNews and NCJ applauded as a great inroad to “natural” condition. It’s pure jive.
We have no native plants that will secure our shoreline, which is why we’ve planted European Beach Grass.
Ms. Pickart had told us that the Euro Grass was displacing our native plants, but she was wrong- Euro Grass stabilizes our sand so that our natives can enter and thrive, creating constructed wetlands to the glee of wildlife.
A more dishonest “restoration” can not be found anywhere on Earth.

Mary Ann
Guest
Mary Ann
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

While I can’t argue many of the points presented, I can say, UNEQUIVOCALLY, that the beach grass does NOT allow natives to enter and thrive. Have you taken a drive out to the South Jetty of late? I would estimate that between the beach grass and the ice plant, there are acres where 90% of native plants have been displaced.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Mary Ann

Mary what I see is diminished wetland function and loss of habitat.
If you’ll check Clam Beach you’ll see that the dune forest is moving into the dunes where the Amophylla has not been removed. That forest will out-compete the grass, create an understory of natives, accumulate sand, stabilize and provide wildlife habitat along the way.
These are the concerns of the State, the decision is not ours, we are obligated by the Migratory Bird Treaty, Coastal Act and Porter/Cologne to enhance coastal wetlands and wildlife habitat.
Just north of Ma’lel the removal of vegetation has fragmented the peninsula right through the peninsulas’ spine for the first time in history. The moving dune is about to enter the slough to create another federal water violation.
.

Mary Ann
Guest
Mary Ann
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

I can see we must agree to disagree.

Tim
Guest
Tim
5 months ago
Reply to  Mary Ann

That’s the safest bet with Dan since he clearly doesn’t understand any of those laws and how they apply to the local dune ecosystem.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Tim, this is my backyard, I signed for the Porter/Cologne
funding.
What are you talking about?

Pat Bitton
Guest
Pat Bitton
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim

He just has no wish to hear any other viewpoint.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Pat Bitton

I heard loud and clear that we have nonnative grasses
I also know what the parameters are in removing those grasses,
I also am a fiduciary for the Porter/Cologne funding.
Tell us about Porter/Cologne, Pat.
What is the intention of that funding?

cathy tobin
Guest
cathy tobin
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Dan, you are right. This whole project of Friends of the Dunes has been done with a little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of ignorance ! Aside from destablizing the fore dunes so much grass has been removed on some dunes that huge areas have collapsed. They also say they will wait 8 years before replanting! Can you believe that . In the meantime where are all the wildlife supposed to go? Talk about half a—ed thinking.

Zipline
Guest
Zipline
5 months ago
Reply to  Mary Ann

It’s all “non-native” seeing as this land was ocean bottom not so long ago.

Mr. Clark
Member
Mr. Clark
5 months ago

Well i hope this settles the debate. Pretty neutral advice. No hidden agendas form google (cyberdyne) or Bard AI (skynet).

tru matters
Guest
tru matters
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Clark
Mr. Clark
Member
Mr. Clark
5 months ago

My GF, Greta, says rip that eurograss off the dunes, so it will be real like before 1492….

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Last edited 5 months ago
Guest
Guest
Guest
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Clark

But can she cook?

Mind Drive
Guest
Mind Drive
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Clark

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Magellan-Impending_Ascension.jpg
NorCalNative
Guest
NorCalNative
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Clark

Hey, Republican incels need loving too.

Mind Drive
Guest
Mind Drive
5 months ago
Reply to  NorCalNative

Another word (like ‘cis’) crafted solely with the intention to slight and marginalize normal people.

NorCalNative
Guest
NorCalNative
5 months ago
Reply to  Mind Drive

Normal people want fake girlfriends?

Mind Drive
Guest
Mind Drive
5 months ago
Reply to  NorCalNative

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Scott Greacen
Guest
Scott Greacen
5 months ago

I think RHBB is publishing Dan’s endless, stupid attacks on dune restoration and the agencies and NGOs involved without making any attempt to assess his bullshit.
Having a language model do the bullshitting is just adding another layer of nonsense.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Scott Greacen

Scott, did you know that Manila’s dunes were acquired with Porter/Cologne Act
money as set-asides for wetlands and wildlife?
In your ignorance, our vegetation has been removed so carelessly that many of our constructed wetlands are no longer functioning, and our wildlife and migratory birds no longer have a place to rest and feed, violating the purpose and intentions of the Act.
You can’t increase biodiversity on a dune by removing plants, but you can destroy a dune’s ability to host wildlife by removing vegetation- and that is what you have done.
If in your rigid concept of plant purity, you would allow nonnative plants, the payoff for wetlands and wildlife is extraordinary.
Golden Gate Park was a moving dune until stabilized by nonnative trees, now it is the most biodiverse landscape on the west coast.
Check it out;
https://www.inaturalist.org/places/golden-gate-park#page=9&taxon=48460
Now tell us where we will find a successful coastal dune restoration, you can’t because removing grasses has NEVER increased biodiversity anywhere.

well . . .
Guest
well . . .
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Removing the invasive grass has increased species richness and diversity. I’ve seen and participated in the studies myself.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  well . . .

Well, I think that is malarkey, please send a link
to those studies.
If you can not find a link- tell us where we can see
this unheard of phenomenon.

Kym Kemp
Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Scott Greacen

It’s a letter to the Editor, Scott. Anyone can send us their opinion including you and we will most likely print it within reason. Dan knows I personally disagree with him. Free speech isn’t just pretty words. It means letting people you disagree with speak their mind. Even when they are wrong or grouching at the wrong person for the wrong reason…in my opinion.

Scott Greacen
Guest
Scott Greacen
5 months ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

Dan’s submission has all the authenticity and originality of a package of Oreos at a bake sale.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Scott Greacen

Scott, quit the asinine stuff, you pretend to be an enviro yet you cannot
talk of wetlands, wildlife or erosion. These are the considerations that override your choice of what plants stay or go.
Read the Permits! We were lied to, we were promised no adverse impacts
to wildlife or wetlands- OK Mr. Envro, tell us how our wildlife and wetlands are fairing where vegetation has been removed.
Did you notice that the Rudd Property has lost its Primary Dune and its deflation-plane wetland?
Of course not, you have no idea what it is you are talking about.
Try open-eyed honesty.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

What happened to journalism, Kym?
As an editor why don’t you inquire about the state of our coastal wildlife habitats,
the coastal wetlands or the loss of Base Flood Elevations?
Maybe you can get some answers.

Kym Kemp
Admin
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

When people start paying for their news, I’ll have the resources to get enough sleep and investigate ideas that are not at the top of my concerns. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to squeeze out enough money to hire one full time person so I’m not responsible for everything and can go to bed before 3 a.m.

Scott Greacen
Guest
Scott Greacen
5 months ago
Reply to  Kym Kemp

Kym, I appreciate your impulse to allow people with whom you disagree to state their piece, but I think you’re being used by a classic bad-faith actor here.
It’s not like Edrich’s assertions have never been investigated. Thirteen years ago, Heidi Walters wrote a long piece for the NCJ that showed he’s wrong about all these claims.
But we live in a time and place where memories are short, and many people are moved by conspiratorial grievance stories like Edrich’s.
That’s why we have a collective responsibility to push back on malicious disinformation. That responsibility falls with greater weight on publishers.

Scott Greacen
Guest
Scott Greacen
5 months ago
Reply to  Scott Greacen
DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Scott Greacen

This is great, Kym! Scott Greacen- he knows stuff maybe he can answer some questions-
Where do we find a successful coastal dune “restoration?”
Who inspects the work on the dunes?
Where, on the dunes can we find an increase in biodiversity, after removing vegetation?
What Permit allows erosion?
What CDP allows the killing of natural progression Contorta Pine?
What CDP allows for Base Flood Elevation to diminish?
With diminished BFEs the wind is increased, what Permit allows an increase of windspeed?
What CDP allows the destruction of constructed wetlands?
What CDP allows wildlife habitat to be destroyed?
Happy New Year, your charade with removing grasses is done.

Have you ever wondered why not one private property owner allows your BS dune restorations? Decades- NOT A ONE.

Study a bit, you’ll be ashamed OR stay ill-informed, just stay off of the dunes. Cheers.

Last edited 5 months ago
Zipline
Guest
Zipline
5 months ago
Reply to  Scott Greacen

“Dune Restoration” ? Everything humans touch turns to shit.

Kicking Bull
Guest
Kicking Bull
5 months ago

“I’ve such respect for mother earth I’ve asked a machine how to relate to her” TL; DR!!!

Susan Nolan
Guest
Susan Nolan
5 months ago

The AI did a good job of summarizing the available information, including reasons not to stabilize:

  • Controlling invasive species: In some cases, it may be necessary to remove invasive plant species that are harming the dune ecosystem. However, this should be done carefully and with a plan to replant native vegetation afterwards.
  • Restoring specific dune types: In some rare cases, removing vegetation may be part of a carefully planned restoration effort to recreate a specific type of dune habitat. This should only be done by qualified professionals with a deep understanding of dune ecology.

In this case, European beach grass is a non-native invader. It displaces native species, some of them rare, which are adapted to uncontrolled dune conditions. Much of the Humboldt Bay dune area is already stabilized by European dune grass. A small portion is reserved to protect the original native species, and the slowly moving dunes there seem to present no problem to infrastructure or property.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Susan Nolan

You are wrong on many points, I’ll address one here.
no problem to infrastructure or property.”
You’ve not paid attention, all along Manilas’ and FOD’s coast is HBMWD’s water main. Your Friends have destabilized the dunes west of those mains which puts us in violation of FEMAs requirement to provide the engineering that shows the destabilization will not increase potential Velocity Zone flood damage.
May we see that engineering?
Of course not, you were probably not aware that we had a pipeline in our now eroded deflation plane wetland. Well, we do, where is the engineering that FEMA requires?

Solar BozoD
Member
Solar Bozo
5 months ago

I call bull. Maybe IA had a hand in it, but it wreaks of the writer’s broken record prejudices.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Solar Bozo

Sharp as always, Bozo.
Now try to articulate beyond aspersion, as if you
had something of value to add.

Pat Bitton
Guest
Pat Bitton
5 months ago
Reply to  Solar Bozo

Broken record is right. Broken argument also.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Pat Bitton

What are you jabbering about?
Argue the points I make- defend the idiocy of removing vegetation
where you have ZERO regrowth on a coastline, what is it you are defending?
Tell us where to see the results, that you are so pleased with.

Concerned Citizen
Guest
Concerned Citizen
5 months ago

Ask Alexa “what is the United Nations states of America ?” And you will see what the grand plan is after the apocalypse…

Last edited 5 months ago
North westCertain license plate out of thousands c
Guest
North westCertain license plate out of thousands c
5 months ago

What insight, you must be Q

farfromputin
Member
farfromputin
5 months ago

I find the AI essay ok. It’s non-judgemental and not that unreasonable. It basically asks that we humans do no harm while removing nonnative plants.

Nate
Guest
Nate
5 months ago

History already shows how detrimental it can be to remove vegetation from Coastal dunes. Easter Island is a great example. Makes sense that AI can write a summary of why it’s not a good idea

Ed Voice
Guest
Ed Voice
5 months ago

Trying to understand the point or attention of this ‘letter to the editor’; because its AI Generated or removing vegetation from the coastal dunes/wetlands?

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Ed Voice

It was in the hope of expressing knowledge minus emotion
or bias. I was impressed by the results.

Smoky OG again
Guest
Smoky OG again
5 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Please keep up your good accurate work and I for one am Very Thankful To Have 1 Voice that Speaks for Me! I’ve been in the dunes recently and couldn’t understand WTF had happened and asked a passerby what happen out here and they cheerfully said, “Dune Restoration!”
It looks like clearcut compared to the 90’s when I lived in Manila with my family and 2 small kids! The dunes were our playgound and vacation spot and all around Great place to romp!
It’s much too late to restore anything in the environment. Destruction and disruption and has happened. The plants that have grown back or been planted wether native plants, non-native plants, grasses, shurbs, trees all of it Is The Restoration of the Dunes. There is no “Return” to a historical state of natural balance possible.
I’m very surprised the scientists can’t or won’t acknowledge the hubris in thinking that “creative destruction” of removing stabilizing vegetation from the stable dunes is somehow good! Removing plants, cutting trees, dstroying the dunes to save the dunes is not helpful in the current era where every single piece of living vegetation wherever its growing is working to heal the atmosphere and the Earth and I am Thankful and Grateful for every blade of grass and shrub and flower regardless of orgin. Let it all be.

Al L Ivesmatr
Guest
Al L Ivesmatr
5 months ago
Reply to  Smoky OG again

Much respect for your very astute observations. It’s a no brainer for folks like you! Did they ask you about your first hand living observations? Nahhhhhh. Unfortunately, Human political scientists happened. They always ruin everything and they don’t care what you think or see with your own eyes! It’s only about them and the ego plus bank account.

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Smoky OG again

Thank you, we rarely have an eyewitness account of the beauty
and diversity of wildlife that existed before the phyto-fascists had their way.
They are now in an all-out CYA, the damages are world-class, as WAS our dune system.

Mary Ann Machi
Member
Mary Ann Machi
5 months ago

Here’s how Pt. Reyes National Seashore has been implementing the Porter Cologne Act:

“Purpose and Need – The Purpose of this action is to improve and restore up to 600 acres of native coastal dune ecosystems in the Seashore through removal of non-native or invasive plant species and to, thereby, assist with recovery efforts for the highly imperiled endangered and rare species associated with these ecosystems.

Restoration is Needed for the following reasons: Invasive Species Threaten Habitat The Seashore preserves some of the last remaining high quality coastal dune habitat in the United States. However, this habitat is seriously threatened by the rapid encroachment of at last two invasive, non-native plant species, European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) and iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis). By 2009, more than 60% (1,400 acres) of the park’s roughly 2,200 acres of coastal dune, bluff, and scrub habitat was estimated to be dominated by European beachgrass and iceplant.

The primary objectives related to dune restoration at the Seashore include:  Remove non-native, invasive plant species from dune habitat where they interfere with natural physical processes such as sand movement and hydrology.  Remove non-native, invasive plant species from dunes to create conditions under which native plant and wildlife species can flourish.  Minimize potential for non-native species reinvasion of restored habitat.  Increase potential coastal dune habitat for target threatened and endangered species affected by non-native, invasive plant species. The USFWS Recovery Plan for endangered dune plant species calls for expanding population numbers and ranges through restoration and protection of dune habitats, with restoration to be focused on an “aggressive program to control non-native invasive plant species.” 

DanD
Member
Dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Mary Ann Machi

Mary, this is not Porter/Cologne.
Porter/Cologne is about enhancing wetlands and wildlife.
P/C has zero to do with the often moronic exercise of plant nativism.
You’d know that if you studied the results.
If our officials were honest and reported the gruesome results, they would not be doing it in Marin.

Did you know that Marin has Ramsar Wetlands?
Ramsar has wetlands around the globe, no one knows wetlands better, do they remove nonnatives?
Hell no.
 Remove non-native, invasive plant species from dune habitat where they interfere with natural physical processes such as sand movement and hydrology. “

Said another way, we are going to destroy wildlife habitats, and encourage erosion while defeating the hydrological stability introduced by plants.
Mary, where do I go to see a successful “restoration?”