BIOMIMICRY: Creating Land from Air

Making Land From Air: Biomimicry Strategies and Techniques 

Biomimicry is an innovative, random matrix, coastal restoration system that harvests sand from storm winds. Safe Harbor Environmental developed this minimal profile system during a Barrier Dune restoration in Truro, Cape Cod, following 5 failures at the toe of the dune. The broken Dune had over washed into a fresh water marsh for 19 yrs. Safe Harbor’s restoration systems collected 22-24 vertical feet of new sand In 26 months. The cross section profile of the restored Barrier Dune was 600 square feet.

 “Biomimicry” refers to our minimal profile, random matrix, coastal restoration system.  Biomimicry mimics the ‘performance” of native coastal vegetation to stabilize and collect wind blown sand. Biomimicry uses 14 inch long, narrow Cedar shims which are randomly, inserted several inches into the sand, spaced from 10-14 inches apart, in a 4-6 foot wide random matrix along the upper beach. This matrix stabilizes existing sand while collecting new sand from ocean storms. As sand levels rise, the shims are pulled up higher, to continue collecting. Additional shims can be added to widen the profile. How the shims are adjusted controls the profile of the sand collection platform. As elevations increase, Beach grass can be planted side by side with Biomimicry. 

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 Gordon holding a cedar shim used for biomimicry

Newly installed biomimicry

The wind blown sand has started to collect

The biomimicry has successfully collected sand



Native vegetation collects and stabilizes windblown sand