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Dune Restoration and Enhancement for the Florida Panhandle

Debbie Miller, Mack Thetford, Christina Verlinde, Gabriel Campbell, and Ashlynn Smith

The manual is available in PDF form here.

The authors of this manual have worked for many years with homeowners, local government officials, land managers, nurseries, and restoration project managers, and their requests for both basic and targeted information pertinent to coastal dune restoration inspired this manual, which provides an overview of the Florida Panhandle coastal dune systems and specific information on coastal dune restoration techniques for the northern Gulf of Mexico region. This manual may serve as a tool to assist managers and homeowners with development of restoration goals, introduce restoration practitioners to required permitting processes, or assist contractors with timelines for implementing restoration activities based on the knowledge of the impacted flora and fauna.

Section one of the manual presents basic information about coastal systems along the western Florida Panhandle and provides a context for the importance of dunes. Readers will find this information useful in understanding how the components of the coastal system are interrelated, learning about the diversity of plant communities that make up our coastal system, and understanding the roles of the flora and fauna found on our coasts.

The second section of the manual focuses on the restoration of coastal dunes within the western Florida Panhandle. This section provides initial contacts for permitting processes and technical information on approaches for dune restoration and explains specific restoration techniques for establishing dunes and planting dune vegetation. Readers will also learn about additional plant species that provide wildlife cover, nectar, and other kinds of food for insects and wildlife. This information is also pertinent to nursery growers, contracting agents, land managers, and local governments who participate in the development of contract specifications that address plant species selection, nursery production systems, and appropriate planting locations, spacing, timing, and transplant size.

The third section of the manual provides detailed information on plant species found in the many plant communities in the western Florida Panhandle. Details on identification, biology, propagation methods, and nursery production methods as well as recommendations for successful out-planting for coastal restoration are provided for each plant. This information is useful for the homeowner to understand the timeline for production or the degree of difficulty involved in the production of these plants. Nursery growers, contracting agents, land managers, and local governments will also find this information useful in development of specifications for contracts or seed-collection permits for projects that will require access to seed or cutting materials in advance of restoration planting.

The manual is available in PDF form here.

Peer Reviewed

Publication #SGEB-75

Release Date:September 28, 2018

Reviewed At:October 6, 2021

Related Experts

Verlinde, Chris M.

County agent

University of Florida

Thetford, Mack


University of Florida

Miller, Debbie L.


University of Florida

Related Topics

Fact Sheet

About this Publication

This document is SGEB-75, one of a series of the Florida Sea Grant College Program, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 2018. Visit the EDIS website at

About the Authors

Debbie Miller, professor, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department, UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center; Mack Thetford, associate professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center; Christina Verlinde, Florida Sea Grant agent, UF/IFAS Extension Santa Rosa County; Gabriel Campbell, graduate research assistant; and Ashlynn Smith, graduate research assistant; UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Deborah Miller
  • Mack Thetford