Many Stinson Beach homes could be flooded amid rising seas within a decade. Would building dunes save them?

Steps from the white sands of Stinson Beach, Gary Bisson went from one house to the next on a blustery blue-sky December day, setting out the garbage and recycling bins at vacation properties. A self-described survivor of the Summer of Love, Bisson found refuge here 50 years ago and never left.

At times during those decades, the ocean had all but devoured the beach during big El Niño storms. Bisson recalls in 1982 watching seals bob along Calle del Arroyo, the only egress for oceanfront neighborhoods, when a 100-year storm swept about a half-dozen beachfront homes into the sea and flooded the streets.

That storm decades ago illustrates what sea level rise could do to this coastal community, one of the most vulnerable on the Marin County coast. A 2016 assessment of the county’s shoreline towns found that without intervention, flooding linked to rising seas could damage or destroy 200 to 400 of Stinson Beach’s 775 homes by 2030.

The solutions are imperfect. Some communities are preparing to move infrastructure, homes and any new development away from coastal lowlands. Others are building seawalls and different types of structural armor.

Marin County officials are considering a temporary, more ecologically oriented solution: build dunes to absorb some of the pressure from king tides and big storms heightened by rising seas.

Dunes are nature’s storm absorbers, with tall sand mounds and deep-rooted grasses that can soak up some of the deluge.

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