The Mississippi Gulf Coast is one of the hottest tourism spots in the nation. Part of the allure for visitors is our beautiful sand beach. But it faces a constant enemy - the wind.
Wind and storms cause erosion and a lot of extra work for MDOT and the Sand Beach Department.
"It's very discouraging from our standpoint. We worked all winter trying to get the beach back into a position to where it looks good for the people coming out to the beach, and then to see the fruits of our labor being blown over the seawall," Harrison County Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver said.
Sand on the roads can also become a hazard to drivers. And when a heavy rain comes, the sand could be blocking storm drains. That's why MDOT partners with the Sand Beach Department to put the sand back in place.
Net-like fences on the beach protect the Least Terns and their eggs. They also protect the beach from erosion by catching the sand, but Weaver says much of that is gone now.
"We probably only have about seven or eight thousand feet in the ground right now. We lost a 100-thousand feet of it during Lilly and Isidore, so we're slowly getting back to the point where we were pre-storm."
Storms and wind are the enemy that Weaver and his crews fight daily, but he says the hard work and money spent putting all the sand back on the beach is a small price to pay.
"That's the price for living in paradise."
You'll soon see 900-feet of sand dunes along South Mississippi's beaches. They're covered with sea oats and other indigenous grass that will help stop sand erosion. The National Resource Conservation Service will start the "dune vegetation replacement" project in the next few weeks.