Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide

Maritime sandy beach  (S1)



Maritime sandy beach communities occur on ocean beaches beginning at the extra-high tide line then landward to the base of the foredune. These upper beaches are over-washed by waves during severe storms and vegetation is routinely exposed to strong winds, sand abrasion, and salt spray. Shifting sands are also a constant disturbance. As a result, vegetation is sparse (<1% cover) and generally limited to salt-tolerant, succulent annuals. The rest of the community consists of bare sand. Strand lines may be present from storm events. The federally threatened piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nests in this community. All of New Hampshire’s maritime sandy beaches have been impacted by foot traffic, especially from beachgoers during the summer months.

Characteristic Vegetation: Plant species cover and diversity is low. Scattered plants may include sea rocket (Cakile edentula), common saltwort (Salsola kali), wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum), beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), and beach pea (Lathyrus japonicus).


Good examples of this community occur at Seabrook Beach and Hampton Beach State Park.


Maritime sandy beaches occur adjacent to (on the seaward side of) 
coastal sand dune systems.


(no photo available)

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