Corps Reps Search For Answers On Harrison County Beach

Staff members from the Army Corps of Engineers saw for themselves the condition of the beaches of Harrison County, two years after Katrina blasted through.

"You guys have a nice, wide beach here," said Tim Caldwell, with the Army Corps of Engineers. "It could stand some additional height. That's what we hope to provide it in our re nourishment project."

Before the 1.5 million cubic yards of sand are pumped onto the 26 mile coast line the Corps must find ways to protect much of that sand.

"It's important to find methods to keep the sand on the beach," said Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver. "One of them was the boardwalk project, which we're going to be coming back with a concrete structure. The second one is the dunes. They play a vital role in keeping the sand on the beach."

On Tuesday, Corps representatives toured various dunes that were created by landscape experts from Mississippi State.

"We have dunes that are 18 to 20 inches tall, which nobody can believe," said MSU Landscape Architect Pete Melby. "So we had to bring them out here and point to it and say, 'Hey look, this is 12 years worth of trial and error.'"

If the Corps goes along with the dunes concept, they must consider which species of plants to use, how many they'll need, and where to place them. The goal is to better protect the beach from future storms, so it will once again be a place tourists can enjoy and South Mississippians can be proud of.

As part of the project, the Corps will also repair damaged seawalls, storm pipes, and open channel drains.