The base of the dune along the natural area’s eastern shoreline retreated about 4 to 6 feet, according to one estimate.

JUPITER — Although Hurricane Dorian spared northern Palm Beach County from the worst of its fury, it packed a punch to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse grounds.


The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area suffered a "substantial" amount of erosion along the far-southern portion of its Indian River Lagoon shoreline, said Peter De Witt, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s program manager for the natural area.


The base of the dune retreated about 4 to 6 feet, De Witt estimated. The dune’s crest lost about a foot, he said.


There was only minor erosion farther north along the Indian River Lagoon and on the natural area’s Loxahatchee River shoreline, De Witt said.


De Witt said he plans to work with Florida Atlantic University to obtain complete measurements.


The erosion toppled six sabal palms, two sea grapes and a gumbo limbo tree near the Indian River Lagoon, De Witt said.


Shoreline erosion is nothing new at the natural area — and it’s intensified in recent years.


De Witt said in May that the property’s Indian River Lagoon and Loxahatchee River shorelines experienced an average of 7 feet of erosion annually in the preceding five years. Historically, that rate has been about 2 feet per year, he said at the time.


The Jupiter Inlet District plans to work with BLM to install what’s known as a "living shoreline" along the natural area’s border with the Loxahatchee River.


Regarding the latest erosion from Hurricane Dorian’s outer bands, De Witt said he fears the dune along the Indian River Lagoon will be unstable until it erodes to a new equilibrium point.


"We would caution people to be especially careful and observant in this area and ask them to not climb the dune to avoid further impact and destabilization of the slope," he said in an email.


A silver lining is that there was little impact elsewhere on the property, he said.


The lighthouse will be illuminated again Wednesday night after going dark during the storm to protect its lens, said Jamie Stuve, president and CEO of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum.


Lighthouse staff wrapped the 6,000-pound lens with special foam, bubble wrap and shrink wrap late last week.


The lighthouse and its gift shop will reopen to the public on Thursday, Stuve said.


The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse similarly went dark during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Matthew one year earlier.


showard@pbpost.com


@SamuelHHoward