Harrison County sand beach crews prepare for summer crowds - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harrison County sand beach crews prepare for summer crowds

The beach rake machines have been extra busy in recent weeks. Recent rainfall meant more debris along the shoreline. (Photo source: WLOX) The beach rake machines have been extra busy in recent weeks. Recent rainfall meant more debris along the shoreline. (Photo source: WLOX)
Sand Beach Director Chuck Director Loftis wants to remind beach visitors to mind the birds, the least terns that is. Their sections of sand are clearly roped or fenced off to allow them to nest in peace. (Photo source: WLOX) Sand Beach Director Chuck Director Loftis wants to remind beach visitors to mind the birds, the least terns that is. Their sections of sand are clearly roped or fenced off to allow them to nest in peace. (Photo source: WLOX)
HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Harrison County sand beach crews are busy this week getting the 26 miles of sand ready for Memorial Day weekend and the busy summer season.

The beach rake machines have been extra busy in recent weeks. Recent rainfall meant more debris along the shoreline.

"When we have heavy rains, all that trash from the ditches and the rivers flow out to the gulf and it washes up on shore. But so far so good. We've been doing quite well and hopefully by this weekend we'll have everything picked up," said Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis.

Beach erosion has been minimal this spring.

"This year we haven't had that much of an issue with sand blowing up on the highways," said Loftis.

Director Loftis credits a multi-tiered approach: Lowering the template of the sand, and using dune grass and fencing to contain the blowing sand. Another dune-planting project is on the horizon in the next 60 days or so.

"We'll finish up on a project that we have tidelands grant with some dune grass. And we're going to be planting about another ten thousand sea oats plants to help on the erosion and the blowing sand. Vegetation is by far the best because it will hold that material and will not let it blow," he explained.

One ongoing problem is something beach visitors can do something about: Litter.

"Put your trash in the garbage cans. We have 350 to 400 drums out there. If they would just pick up their own trash and throw it in the receptacle, that would be tremendous," said Loftis.

Director Loftis wants to remind beach visitors to mind the birds, the least terns that is. Their sections of sand are clearly roped or fenced off to allow them to nest in peace.

"Everything is going to be great for this weekend and hopefully the weather will hold out," he said.

The Harrison County sand beach department has about 22 full time employees, along with three part time workers in the summer time.

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