Sigren, J.M.; Figlus, J.; Highfield, W.; Feagin, R.A., and Armitage, A.R., 2018. The effects of coastal dune volume and vegetation on storm-induced property damage: Analysis from Hurricane Ike.
In response to numerous recent high-profile cases of tropical storm and hurricane damage to coastal communities, there has been increasing attention on the storm protection services provided by coastal ecosystems. However, substantial knowledge gaps exist regarding the quantitative economic benefits of such services, particularly for coastal vegetated dune ecosystems. A novel geographic information system (GIS)-based technique for delineating, quantifying, and relating coastal dune volume, vegetation area, and geographic and built-environment covariates to sustained property damage was used for the upper Texas coast following Hurricane Ike in 2008. The multivariate regression analysis contained more than 1000 homes spanning both sides of the storm's path. Dune volume and vegetation were both significantly related to reduced sustained property damage for the west side of the storm. For this area, model results showed that dune sediment was worth roughly $50 per cubic meter and dune vegetation was worth roughly $140 per square meter. However, because these variables were collinear and modeled separately, these amounts should not be viewed additively. The total property damage offset value of dunes across the study area was estimated to be more than $8 million, or approximately $8200 per homeowner. Based on the frequency of storms for this area over the last 115 years, coastal vegetated dunes were valued at roughly $86,000 per hectare per year. The results indicate that dunes could play an integral role in coastal hazard mitigation strategies and offer a unique opportunity where bioengineered, green infrastructure can be used as an alternative to hard coastal structures.