Sunday, May 21, 2006

More Sand for One and All

The sugary white sand of the Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama and Perdido Key, Florida area has delighted beachgoers for years. However, over time the elements and occasional storms take their toll on the width of the beach lying between the structures and the waterline. A much needed beach restoration was performed beginnin in 2005 from Perdido Pass Bridge in Orange Beach to the end of West Beach in Gulf Shores, for a total of approximately 16 miles of coastal frontage. The process of pumping the sand from a harvest site just offshore with compatible sand the size, shape and color of existing sand was amazing. Over the 18 months of the project 7.1 million cubic yards of sand was deposited on shore which is equivalent to 470,000 truck loads of this precious material.

Sand fence is still being installed and native grasses (sea oats and panic grass) are being planted to build back the dune system.

The results of this expensive project are incredible and have resulted in very wide, much improved beaches. The project was designed with future erosion in mind, assuring a much bigger beach for years to come.

National recognition was recently bestowed on our beaches by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association, when we were named one of six "Top Restored Beaches in America for 2006." The other beaches receiving the 2006 award are Assateague Island National Seashore, MD; Captive Island, FL; Pinellas County Beaches, FL; Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches, DE; and Sea Bright to Manasquan Beach, NJ.

As long as I can remember I've loved to feel the clean, soft, white sand under my bare feet and hear the squeak this unusual sand makes as I make my way to the water's edge. I usually sit for long periods of time gazing at the waves, watching the many birds and sand crabs and just sifting the sand through my fingers. If possible I stay for the brilliant sunset because it reminds me of the grandeur and beauty of our world.

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