Save Our Beach has gathered hundreds of volunteers to restore dunes along the Texas Gulf Coast, most of which were washed back into the ocean during the record storm season in 2020.
Evergreens are used to build new barriers in the dunes to protect coastal areas from the ravages of violent storms. For residents of nearby Lake Jackson and populous Houston, located a little further from the coast, the 40 km of beaches not only delight the locals. The dunes of the Gulf of Mexico are home to hundreds of bird species and sea turtles that lay their eggs there.
To protect the dunes, volunteers use untreated pine stakes and natural fiber twine to securely anchor some 3,000 donated Christmas trees to the sand. After a few months, the wind-blown sand begins to accumulate – it is held back by the branches and needles of the trees until eventually they are completely covered.
Over time, as sand builds up on these trees, they decompose and actually fertilize some of the vegetation that will grow on them.
“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has been extremely active,” said Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric researcher at Colorado State University, in an interview with AFP. “There were 30 named storms this season, a record for an Atlantic hurricane.”
The coast around Surfside Beach has not suffered as much damage since 2008 from Hurricane Ike.