New York Natural Heritage Program
Maritime Dunes
Maritime dunes at Fort Tilden, Gateway National Recreation Area Gregory J. Edinger
System: Terrestrial
SubSystem: Open Uplands

State Protection: Not Listed
Federal Protection: Not Listed

State Rarity Rank: S3
A State Rarity Rank of S3 means: Typically 21 to 100 occurrences, limited acreage, or miles of stream in New York State.

Global Rarity Rank: G4
A Global Rarity Rank of G4 means: Apparently secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Did you know?
Unlike most terrestrial systems, maritime dune systems move over the landscape and even across property boundaries. Consequently, this migrating dune system is difficult to preserve. However, it needs to be protected and restored. A healthy dune system protects property by reducing the energy of storm waves. It is the best defense against coastal flooding, erosion, and sea-level rise. It provides tremendous economic benefit to the local economy. A healthy coastal sand dune system is also the least costly way to maintain a recreational beach for future generations. (

State Ranking Justification [-]
There are an estimated 130 miles of maritime dunes on Long Island (about 100 miles on the south shore) covering about 4,700 to 14,000 acres; there may be as many as 30 to 50 extant occurrences statewide. The several documented occurrences have good viability and most are protected on public or private conservation land. This community is restricted to the ocean shoreline of southern and eastern Long Island and includes some high quality examples. The trend for the community is declining due to threats related to alteration of dune/swale dynamics, including management practices that alter natural hydrologic processes (such as breach contingency plans), dune fragmentation, loss of connectivity between the open ocean and the uplands, ORV use, and coastal development.

Short-term Trends [-]

Long-term Trends [-]