Volunteers help restore torn up beach

January 25, 2009 5:29:03 AM PST
A Brazoria County beach severely torn up following Hurricane Ike will soon restore itself, thanks to thousands of old Christmas trees and hundreds of volunteers. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

"Grab you some stakes we'll need several bundles and a couple bags or a bag of twine," said Brazoria County Marine Agent Rich Tillman.

Tillman was directing hundreds of volunteers in restoring Surfside Beach Saturday.

"We're putting Christmas trees that a month ago were in people's homes with presents underneath and we're staking them and tying to our beach," said Tillman.

The trees, 5,000 of them in all, will catch sand blown in the wind.

"Actually we're trying to help Mother Nature re-establish sand dunes that got washed away in Hurricane Ike," he said.

The idea seems novel but it's been done there for 20 years. This year, however, it's far more serous than holding off dune erosion from normal wind and waves.

"To still see what it's done and the debris and the people kind of cleaning up and to have no dunes at all now, you know there's really a need here," said volunteer David DiMarcello.

At the end of the project, 5,000 old Christmas trees covered five miles of beach and Brazoria County's marine agent says they could have used 10,000 more trees.

And here's another way the beach restoration project is good for the environment -- it's keeping those thousands of old Christmas trees out of the landfill.

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