Artificial sand dunes could prevent beach erosion

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - You may have noticed some work on the beach in Gulfport just west of Courthouse Road. It's a demonstration project that involves building artificial sand dunes using a special fabric material. The material is wrapped around mounds of sand to provide a stable, strong core for the sand dune. Grasses are then planted atop the dunes to provide the greatest level of anti-erosion.

A company called "Energy by Design" got permission from the county and Army Corps of Engineers to build this demonstration project. The patented fabric used is so strong it's used by the military to protect soldiers against bullets and bombs.

It's the latest attempt to find a way to keep sand on the beach and off of Highway 90.

Several months ago, the Harrison County Sand Beach Authority pulled sand away from the seawall near the Pass Christian/Long Beach line, hoping that would prevent blowing sand from crossing the highway.  And it worked.  We're told more seawall steps can be seen along all 26 miles of beach.  For example, near Rodenburg Avenue, as many as five seawall steps are now visible.  Before, all but one step was covered by sand.

Keeping sand away from the seawall steps requires a lot more maintenance.  Sand beach crews must constantly dig sand away from the concrete steps.  But, the sand beach director says if that keeps the sand on the beach, it's worth the effort.

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