Our Beach 😢
This video was shot this morning by refuge officer Jim Fair at our beach parking lot (recreational Beach) at the end of Beach Road. Although we couldn’t make it to the beach due to the harsh conditions, waves can be seen crashing in the background. This video illustrates why we refer to this area as the “Overwash”. Minor storms and even extremely high tides frequently push water up over the beach, past the parking lots and into the bay. This causes washouts in the parking lots themselves and moves sand, depositing it in new areas.
Large storms have the power to completely reshape a barrier islands as a whole or in portions. The Overwash and the “Hook” (the southwestern portion of the island) are particularly vulnerable to change and amazingly they were both formed in the recent past. Since the 1850s the natural movement of barrier islands actually created the land that we now refer to as the Overwash and Hook. Sand was transported north to south by ocean currents and deposited westward from heavy ocean waves particularly during storms like this one). This natural movement of Assateague Island results in the gradual migration of the island south and west over time and is completely normal on a barrier island. This video is a way for you to watch this movement in action!
Refuge staff will assess storm damage next week at this location as well as the rest of the refuge and begin cleanup and repair.