Mexico Beach holds sea oat planting event to rebuild sand dunes

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Mexico Beach is rebuilding its dunes along with its community.

This image shows a sea oat being planted in Mexico Beach. (WJHG/WECP/ Station)

The city partnered with Duke Energy to start the process of restoring its beaches.

"[We] Brought the idea of a volunteer event with Duke Energy employees to the City of Mexico Beach, understanding that they were undergoing, you know, a beach restoration process, they decided to put it out to their community and low and behold about 300 folks responded that they would be interested in doing it, far and above our expectations for a volunteer event in Mexico Beach," said employee at Duke Energy, Florida Danny Collins.

Those volunteers spent their Saturday morning planting 15,000 sea oats, donated by Duke Energy, along the stretch of beach.

"It protects us from future storms, the storm surge and those types of things, so the dunes are very important to us and the best thing to do to get them to come back and be strong is to plant them," said volunteer and resident of Mexico Beach Lorene Lindsay.

The sea oats will help rebuild the dunes lost during Hurricane Michael and help rebuild the ecosystem.

"The importance is to make sure that this beach restoration project that's taking place here sustains itself. These dunes that are being created won't last if the vegetation doesn't take root and help shore up these new dunes being created," said Collins

The oats aren't just helping restore the dunes, they're helping restore the community.

"This is a kind of a kick-off event for us to feel good and celebrate that we're still here and we're going to come back stronger."

A community being rebuilt, regrown, and restored...one plant at a time.

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