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County's beach replenishment program stopped due to grass

HANCOCK COUNTY — Hancock County officials say the state and federal governments don’t want to replenish a stretch of beach in area of Clermont Harbor.

The Sea Coast Echo reports the beach stretches roughly from Buccaneer State Park to just past Bordages Street in Bay St. Louis.

Officials want to pump in sand to create a 250-foot deep beach on the 4,100-foot stretch.

State and federal officials said the problem is with the tidal grasses now growing in the area. The beach is sandy up to about 50 feet from the road, but past that, silt deposits have allowed grass to grow.

Supervisors David Yarborough said the beach was originally replenished with sand in the early 1960s, but wasn’t well maintained after. Before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, some tidal grass was growing but expanded rapidly after the storm.

“This is one of the few vulnerable spots left in Hancock County,” Yarborough said, referring to storm surge. “But we’re scared to death to touch it.”

Mickey Lagasse of Compton Engineering said shortly after Katrina, the county applied for a permit to replenish the beaches, but left this stretch out of the permit as it would have slowed down the process.

Yarborough said Clermont Harbor had always been a hotbed of second homes, but many property owners don’t want to come back because of the beach.

Officials said the area not only a beach for the community but also flood protection for the newly built seawall and road.

Lagasse said he would put in an application with the U.S. Army Corps for replenishing the beach.

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