Excellent post Bob. I agree with all of it. I was thinking about the folly of building on these dunes the other day, while visiting a barrier island just north of Captiva. I was struck by the logic of the gulf-front structures -- built far back from the water, with walkovers leading the way over the small, low dune system. The homes are high on stilts, which would allow storm surge to theoretically run under the buildings. A major hurricane might rearrange the beach, yes, but the land where the buildings are is not going to disappear, since the surge would just run over the island, carve out new passes perhaps, and yes maybe knock over the buildings -- but one could rebuild. In SoWal the high dunes/bluff system protects the vast majority of houses from storm surge or even needing flood insurance, but those waves have to go somewhere, and as we have seen they will just dig into chunks of the land and wash it away. I think in the building frenzy the county and state officials just didn't consider the unique nature of the coastline in SoWal and the ridiculousness of allowing these buildings to be perched so close to the dune line. It all starts with zoning, and yes the county and state are at fault here, and the only fair thing is to have the state buy out the people whose land may become unbuildable. Blaming the individual gulf front owners for owning and building on the gulf is pointless. Most people who buy such homes have never given a thought to the nature of the coastline. They just want their slice of paradise. The people who need to have the understanding of the laws of nature are those who have allowed the development in the first place.