Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes
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Research - Calvin College Studies
       
Current Research

Dune Features Inventory
In summer 2008, Jenna Beauchamp and Deanna van Dijk investigated ways to systematically collect data on the physical characteristics, management presence and human activities of Great Lakes coastal dunes. By the end of the summer, Jenna had developed the prototype of the Dune Features Inventory (DFI) method. Florie Van Baak continued work on the project as a geography independent study in spring 2009. In academic-year 2009-2010, Brian Ferwerda is using the DFI method to collect data on 30+ Lake Michigan coastal dunes. Statistical analysis of the collected data will provide a test of the method as well as preliminary results on the characteristics of Lake Michigain coastal dunes. More information on this method is available on the Dune Features Inventory page.
This study is supported by the Integrated Science Research Institute (ISRI), the Calvin College Science Division, and the Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies at Calvin College.

Investigating the Effects of Regulation on Development on Michigan Dunes
In fall 2009, a team of researchers from Calvin College (students Seth Kenbeek and Jane Louwsma, along with faculty Deanna van Dijk) collaborated with researchers from Michigan State University and Hope College in a pilot study. Their investigation focused on developing a method of studying how Michigan's sand dune regulations have affected residential development on coastal sand dunes.
This study is supported by a Michigan Coastal Management Program grant.

Ongoing Study of Coastal Dune Changes
See description under "Studies in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park" below.

 

Studies in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park

Study of Homestead Trail parabolic dune (Dune 1)
In summer 2008, Luke Pettinga (assisted by Jenna Beauchamp) and Deanna van Dijk studied the Homestead Trail parabolic dune (Dune 1) to document its characteristics and activity in comparison with a 2002 study of the same dune. The project included surveying and mapping Dune 1, measuring erosion pins, and using GIS to compare results from this study and the study completed in summer 2002.
This study was supported by a Davis A. Young Student Research Fellowship and the Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies at Calvin College.

Study of Mount Baldy and Other Parabolic Dunes
In summer 2006, David Meyer and Deanna van Dijk studied Mount Baldy in comparison to other large parabolic dunes in and near P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. The project included surveying and mapping Mount Baldy and using aerial photographs and site visits to investigate other parabolic dunes. Data and images from the Mount Baldy study will be used on new interpretive materials in preparation by the Department of Natural Resources.
This study was supported by the Calvin College Science Division.

Ongoing Study of Coastal Dune Changes
Since October 2000, Deanna van Dijk and students have been monitoring coastal dune changes in Hoffmaster State Park including the growth of a foredune and changes to a blowout. The multi-year study focuses on sediment movement and important variables (e.g. winds, frozen ground, beach width) in the fall and winter when the strongest local winds occur. The research was described in a 2002 Calvin Spark article as well as publications and presentations.
This study has been supported by the Calvin College Science Division, Calvin College Alumni Association, and the Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies at Calvin College.

2004-2005 Study of Annual Changes to Lake Michigan Coastal Dunes
This one-year study investigated seasonal patterns of coastal dune change in a four-season study of foredune and blowout changes. Study outcomes include interpretive materials for Hoffmaster State Park and this web-site on Lake Michigan coastal dunes.
This study was supported by a Michigan Coastal Management Program grant.

 

 

Studies on Dunes in Ottawa County Parks

North Ottawa Dunes
In summer 2006, Mike Kingma and Deanna van Dijk studied the North Ottawa Dunes, a 500-acre property acquired by Ottawa County in December 2005. The study described the physical features of these wooded dunes as part of a natural inventory that Ottawa County undertook to produce a master plan for the property.
This study was funded by the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Mt. Pisgah (Ottawa County Parks 12)
In summer 2005, Rob Vink and Deanna van Dijk studied Mt. Pisgah, a large parabolic dune near Holland State Park. To investigate whether human activity is changing the dune over time, the study included mapping the dune, historical research, and questionnaires to local dune users. The final report is available as a .pdf file.
This study was funded by the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission.

North Beach Park
In summer 2004, Kristy Jamieson and Deanna van Dijk investigated the geomorphology and activity of a large parabolic dune in North Beach Park. Dune activity threatens a local access road. The report describing dune activity and management recommendations is available as a .pdf file.
This study was funded by the Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission and Construction Aggregates Corporation.

 

 
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Last updated 03/23/10.