In response to David Dornbusch’s Oct. 21 letter, “Alligators in Ecola Creek?,” where he whimsically compares allowing European beach grass in our dunes to the possibility of allowing alligators to live in Ecola Creek, and asks for the grading and replanting of American beach grass, I have good news for Mr. Dornbusch!
Dr. Sally Hacker, Oregon’s beach grass and dune system expert, confirmed in a Sept. 11 presentation that Cannon Beach has an abundance of American beach grass in our dunes. In fact, she predicts that American beach grass will become the dominant species.
See Dr. Hacker’s email confirming this point on the city’s website: www.ci.cannonbeach.or.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/planning/page/28011/b01.hacker.pdf.
As far as alligators, Mr. Dornbusch’s analogy is spot-on. Just as in fairy tales where alligators were placed in moats for protection from invaders, our invasive species of beach grasses (including the Oregon non-native, invasive American beach grass Mr. Dornbusch calls for) protect Cannon Beach from the ever-increasingly strong ocean storms.
While I agree it would be ideal to have our dunes populated with only native plants, it simply cannot be - as long as we have condos, houses and our town built right next to the ocean. This location requires the sacrifice of an exclusively native dune ecosystem. We just can’t have it all.
Luckily for us, the City Council put our collective safety first and recognized that an all-native plant dune system could work only in a fairy-tale version of Cannon Beach.