More dunes sprouting up along Harrison County beaches

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - The Harrison County beach landscape is about to take a greener turn. A contracting crew for the Army Corps of Engineers is digging holes in the sand and planting more than 600,000 plants.

The tiny grasses and shrubs and the dunes they create will have a big job to do, protect our shores from future storms.

"You look at storm surge and you look at wave action coming in, these vertical mounds would help dissipate the energy of the wave and lessen it as it comes in," said Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver.

Congress approved the project shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Weaver said the dunes offer an added bonus, erosion control. They're supposed to keep sand from blowing off the beach and onto Highway 90.

"We got beat up pretty bad with the spring winds that came through, and there's a lot of interest from the public to do something. We had this project in the make, but it just hadn't materialized. We finally got to a point where we're able to put it," said Weaver.

The work is starting in Pass Christian this week and will move east to Oak Street in Biloxi.   There are five different variety of plants, most of them are Sea Oats. Each dune has a different design.

"We've got irregular shapes and irregular sizes. We're going to have gaps between the dunes to make sure we always maintain that view of the water," said Weaver.

The plants will take several years to mature and they can grow as high as 10 feet tall, like some of the plants you already see thriving along the beach.

"If you drive down Highway 90, where you have a pretty mature dune and just look along the medians, you don't see as much sand. So that, along with the boardwalk, I think we got some pretty good measures in play right now," said Weaver.

Weaver said the dunes won't be placed in high-use areas of the beach. The federal project costs about $800,000 and should take about three months to complete

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