TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Sunset Beach officially reopens tomorrow, Oct. 28 after a month-long emergency beach sand dune restoration project.
Hurricane Idalia forced a portion of it to close after eating away at the sand dunes in late August.
“It kind of hit my weekly routine,” Sunset Beach Neighbor Stan Shoaf said.
Neighbors like Shoaf will finally be able to get back to their usual activities from a more convenient location.
“Since I’m retired this is one of my routines. I get out and do paddleboarding two to three times a week and all of that other stuff.”
Dune planting was the final phase of this project. Signs in the ground direct you to be careful not to step on them while they grow.
Once mature, the roots of the plants are supposed to catch sand and keep the dunes together.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but I’m glad at what they did,” Shoaf said. “They did a great job and hopefully, Mother Nature won’t tear it down too quick.”
The city said there isn’t anything underneath the sand to keep it sturdy like tires, fencing, or rocks.
“Even from the signage we put on the beach, to the type of sand we put on the beach, it’s very limited to the Environmental Protection Agency allows us to do,” Treasure Island Spokesperson Jason Beisel said. “So we cannot put anything like that on the beach.”
Some people wondered, why now? It’s still hurricane season and the dune plants are pre-mature.
“If another storm were to come, there would be no protection for this community,” Beisel said. “So the flooding and everything we saw from Idalia, that would be even worse if you didn’t have the dune system there to protect it.”
Beisel tells 8 On Your Side, “The city is going to do everything they can to keep Sunset Beach the way it is.”
Dune plants are going to take a while to grow to where they were pre-hurricane.
When you make a return to the beach, you might notice it’s a lot steeper than before.
The city had to remove walkways for this project. They said they will rebuild them once they find the funding.