Sand beach crews busy preparing for tourist season

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County workers are busy preparing 26 miles of sand beach for the summer tourist season. Sand beach Director Chuck Loftis says the popular tourist attraction is in good shape following a tough winter.

Sand beach crews spent Wednesday morning raking and cleaning a section of sand near the Biloxi schooner pier. With tourist season fast approaching, you can expect to see more of this activity along the 26 miles of beach.

"The cleaning of the beach, we've really ramped up. We're using four cleaners right now. Emptying the trash barrels. And like this past weekend, we did have some pretty weather and had quite a few visitors down here," said Loftis.

Profiling is another job that keeps sand beach crews busy, year round. Lowering the height of the sand, in relationship to the seawall, can help prevent it from blowing onto Highway 90.

"We had that pilot program with lowering the template of the beach. We've done that the whole 26 miles and that's something we have to constantly do. From the top of your seawall down, we try to have at least four steps showing," Loftis said.

Vegetation is also used in the annual battle with blowing sand. The sand beach department has long recognized the benefit of sea grass to cut down on the problem of erosion and blowing sand. One patch of new grass was recently transplanted from the schooner pier to the foot of Debuys Road.

"We planted it, we put fertilizer on it and hopefully in two to three years we'll have a dune," said the director.

One upcoming improvement project involves these unsightly storm drain culverts.

"Cover up some of the existing outfall pipes, to make them more aesthetically pleasing to the eye," said Director Loftis.

With the sand beach often considered the number one tourist attraction, keeping it looking good is critical.

"This is our front door that everybody sees. So, we try to put our best foot forward," said Loftis.

He said one ongoing battle on the beach is trash. The county has added more than 150 new trash barrels to the beach this year and he encourages visitors to use them.

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