Mysterious massive holes popping up on Pinellas County beaches, group creating ‘hole patrol’ for safety

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg woman has made it her mission to help keep the beaches clean… and also fill-in massive holes that have began to appear on the four miles of Treasure Island and, she says, along the entire coast.

Carrie Auerbach is an ambassador for Treasure Island Adopt-A-Beach and runs their Facebook page. She lives only two miles from the beach and goes every day to pick up trash. This year, she says, she has also noticed massive holes not being filled in.

Carrie Auerbach

She and her volunteers are now filling in these massive holes and knocking down sand castles during sea turtle season.

“So these holes are a massive problem and why there are bigger holes is beyond me,” Auerbach said.

While there will always be smaller holes on the beach that can be filled in by kicking in the sand, she had never carried a shovel with her during beach trips until this year.

That’s why Auerbach, on her Facebook page, has put out a call for volunteers for a more formal “hole patrol.” The “wanted” post features a call for like-minded beach lovers who want to see the beaches clean and safe for people, as well as turtles.

She can only speculate, but Auerbach figures that more people are spending time on the beach, as we move into summer months and more people are comfortable getting to the beach as the world attempts to get out of the pandemic.

“People are spending a lot of time on the beach, and maybe digging holes – digging big holes – and then when they’re done at the end of the day, five, six hours, later they’re too tired… and just don’t feel like filling them in,” Auerbach speculated. “So it’s our job to educate why they need to be filled in.”

Carrie Auerbach

Just yesterday, Auerbach said she was traveling with the fire chief in his truck along the beach, filling in holes, and they actually got stuck in one.

Digging these massive holes is not just dangerous for sea turtle mothers and hatchlings, beachgoers and joggers, but utility vehicles and emergency personnel as well.

“The holes are dangerous for our city vehicles, our emergency vehicles that are up and down the beach, especially at night. The police monitor the beach at night and if they get stuck in a hole, you’re talking about a couple hundred thousand dollars piece of equipment getting ruined,” Auerbach said.

Carrie Auerbach

As for sea turtles, the four miles of beach is monitored by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium every morning. Auerbach said she thinks there are probably about 10 nests so far, early in sea turtle nesting season.

The first meeting of the hole patrol will be on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Treasure Island Community Center Park at 154 106th Ave. The meeting should last no longer than 15 minutes.

To help with the hole patrol group effort, you can head to the Facebook post or email treasureislandadoptabeach@gmail.com.

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