Sand Dunes

Michigan dunes are a part of the largest freshwater dune system in the world, so large they are visible from space. Built by glaciers thousands of years ago, approximately 275,000 acres of dunes line Michigan's shores today. We cannot protect this incredible resource without first understanding their importance to our environment, economy and quality of life. The southwest Michigan Planning Commission can provide your community with maps of critical sand dunes and guidance on grant funding to restore and protect sand dunes. 

Additional Resources

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy: Dune formation, types, and ecology.

Michigan Natural Features Inventory: Open Dunes: Learn about the dune ecosystem and the plants and animals that live in the dunes.

Michigan Critical Dunes Area Program: Michigan’s sand dune program began in 1976 when concern for the impacts of sand mining on the dunes led to the passage of the Sand Dune Protection and Management Act

Michigan Environmental Council Sand Dune Project: Bringing the Latest Science to Management of Michigan’s Coastal Dunes

Tips on Building, Landscaping and Living in the Dunes

Living in Michigan’s Critical Dunes:  This booklet is prepared to help the owner of a critical dune area in Michigan understand the rationale for the state’s regulation of critical dunes and the ecological values that individual critical dune parcels provide to the entire dune system.  

Homes in the Dunes: Designed to Preserve:  Learn about ways to build in the dunes in a sensitive and responsible way.

Living in the Dunes: A Homeowner's Guide to Landscaping in Indiana's Dune Communities: This guide aims to provide you with the tools to help protect the landscape of the nearshore dune communities.  As a resident of the Indiana Dunes community, you have the ability to help protect the dunes at the most local level - your own yard.

Syndicate Park Dune Restoration Project

 Van Buren County, MI restored 25 acres of dunes by limiting public access, planting native plants and educating the public.

This video was paid for by Preserve The Dunes as part of the Syndicate Park Restoration and Education Project.