TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. - A major project is ahead to restore sand dunes along Sunset Beach that were destroyed by Hurricane Idalia’s strong storm surge.
"In Sunset Beach, our dune system is over 40 years old, so it’s really had a great foundation, and it’s really sad to see that in many areas, they’re completely destroyed," Treasure Island City Manager Amy Davis said.
Sunset Beach’s dunes specifically took a big beating because the coastline is so narrow. The county has a large project ahead to restore them.
"'[We're] trucking in sand and also using what we’re calling sand traps; they’re large sandbags that are approximately four feet tall, and they’ll be places where the beach is too narrow to stabilize the shoreline," Davis said.
Once that happens, the next phase is planting trees to strengthen the dunes. But, before the county can get the project going, the City of Treasure Island is working to get all the homeowners, mostly those along gulf boulevard on board.
They need to sign what’s called an easement, where the property owner gives the county permission to go onto their properties to restore the dunes that were washed away.
"Residents have responded very positively - I haven’t had any negative feedback on it - it’s just a matter of getting the word out, figuring out the logistics on how to get these easements done," Treasure Island City Commissioner Beth Wetzel said.
A lot of the homeowners live out of state or out of the country, which makes the process a little tricky. Once the city gets all the easements signed, county workers can start the construction on repairing the dunes.
The construction project will limit access to areas of Sunset Beach for a while. The actual amount of time is unclear right now.
The City of Treasure Island anticipates the dune restoration project to begin by the end of September.