The extreme northern coast of France from Dunkirk to the Belgian border is bounded by coastal dunes that have been massively transformed by urban and port development. The only stretch of preserved dune barrier, less then 8 km long, is located east of the port of Dunkirk. The foredune ridge was seriously damaged at the beginning of the 20th century by urban development and almost completely destroyed during World War II. In the 1980s, the foredune, 10 to 20 m high, was affected by breaches and blowouts, and by erosional scarps cut during storm events. The dunes are presently in a state of meso-scale (decadal) stability. This stability is attributed in part to human intervention.
In the early 1990s, active restoration was carried out by the Departmental Authority of the North (Conseil Général du Nord) in charge of the management of these coastal dunes. These measures have resulted in incipient foredune development along accreting sectors. The restoration practices have significantly encouraged foredune stability and incipient foredune development.