Oct 16, 2023 - News

Stay off Sunset Beach dunes, officials warn

Two images side-by-side, showing a sandy, wide shoreline on the left and a narrow, eroded shoreline on the right.

Photos showing the Sunset Beach shoreline before and after Hurricane Idalia. Photo: Courtesy of Ping Wang

Local officials are urging people to stay off Sunset Beach while workers complete emergency dune restoration to address erosion from Hurricane Idalia.

Why it matters: Dunes protect coastal infrastructure and habitats from storm surge and wind.

Driving the news: Workers will begin planting native vegetation in the sand mounds Monday to kick off phase two of the $6 million project, Treasure Island spokesperson Jason Beisel said.

  • Portions of the locals' favorite beach on the south end of Treasure Island have been closed since mid-September.
  • Weather permitting, the beach will reopen Oct. 30, Beisel said.

The rub: Walkers and surfers defying the beach closure have trampled on the newly formed dunes, tearing them down "before vegetation has been planted, which will help keep the dunes in place," he said.

Zoom out: The work on Sunset Beach is part of a $21 million project led by Pinellas County to cart in sand and plant vegetation along shorelines whacked by the Category 3 storm.

  • It's separate from a federal beach renourishment project that's on hold because of land access issues, the county said.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more