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Don't trample on the sand dunes, Pinellas beach officials warn

This photo from Oct. 5 was posted on the City of Treasure Island Facebook page. It shows construction equipment being use to "plant" sand dunes on the beach. The next part of the restoration project includes laying down vegetation, which will help keep the sand in place.
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This photo from Oct. 5 was posted on the City of Treasure Island Facebook page. It shows construction equipment being use to "plant" sand dunes on the beach.

The dune plantings are the first part of an emergency beach restoration project to help beaches slammed by Hurricane Idalia.

Pinellas County officials are taking emergency measures to shore up some beaches that were slammed by Hurricane Idalia. It's being paid for with money from county tourist development taxes.

Sand was trucked in to create new dunes, and vegetation will soon be planted to help anchor them in place.

RELATED: Pinellas County begins emergency beach restoration in Treasure Island

Sunset Beach is closed while the project is being completed, but officials say visitors are already ruining the new sand dunes.

“People are accessing the beach, but they're climbing over these newly created dunes. And when they do so they're trampling on the dune,” Treasure Island spokesman Jason Beisel said. “And they're eroding some of that sand away and bashing them down, where the sand gets more loose and can blow away."

Beisel asks people to visit other parts of Treasure Island until the project is completed. He says it should be done no later than the end of October, and once it is, the beach will reopen.
 
"This is a multimillion dollar project that the county has done over the past couple of weeks to save this beach," Beisel said. "And just to see it get destroyed before it's even done. It's pretty upsetting."

County officials are also urging visitors to stay off Belleair Beach, which is also closed for restoration.

According to a release, work is currently under way on Pass-a-Grille Beach and will soon begin on Upham Beach.

Restoration work might take at other beaches, including Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores ,and/or Madeira Beach, according to the release.

I took my first photography class when I was 11. My stepmom begged a local group to let me into the adults-only class, and armed with a 35 mm disposable camera, I started my journey toward multimedia journalism.
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