BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Harrison County sand beach is looking the best is has in months. Hurricane Nate did a number on the beach in October 2017.
The storm washed away a lot of the beach when it came ashore last year. Gaping trenches left behind, sand covering Highway 90. Now, the dunes are rising high once again, and sea oats dance in the gentle breeze.
Bringing back the sea oats was not as difficult as it first appeared, according to Dennis D'Aquin with the Sand Beach Authority. "We were lucky that the storm didn't damage the roots to the sea oats. We came back and fertilized them all in the fall and it all came back after we fertilized them," he said.
Visitors from Georgia, like Judy Plyme, are happy with the result. "I was glad yesterday afternoon when I first got here to see the sea oats. That's one of the first impressions, I say, was the oats growing. That was actually my thought. The first time, I said wow, they've got some sea oats growing," Plymel gushed.
D'Aquin says besides being beautiful, they do something else. "They serve a big purpose as far as eliminating a lot of the sand that blows onto Highway 90," he noted."
He added that Harrison County just finished a $3 million dollar replenishment project, pumping sand into eight badly eroded areas. D'Aquin stated, "It's been a real big success for the beaches and as far as the tourism, because it's given us a lot of extra beaches to where the people can go out on."
Members of the Harrison County sand beach authority literally spend hundreds of hours each week keeping the beach pristine.
For visitors and locals alike, those efforts do not go unnoticed. Brittney Johnson is visiting from Indiana. "It's very pretty, I love it down here. It's just calm and I love walking in the morning and everything. I just think it's beautiful," she said."
The Mills family from Louisiana is just as impressed. Paul Mills mentioned, "I think it's awesome here. Everything looks really good. They're rebuilding really nice, everything really coming together. From the sands to the beach area."
Every year, the sand beach authority also plants additional beach grasses and sea oats on various sections of the 26 mile long beach.