Communities affected by Hurricane Sandy are using their old Christmas trees to help rebuild sand dunes on their beaches. The trees are being placed on the beaches with their tops facing the ocean in the hope that they will catch sand blowing from all directions. As the trees catch sand slowly the dunes will be rebuilt around them, but this is only the first step in the process of revitalizing the dunes. The addition of sea grasses and other plants will help stabilize the dunes for the future.
The practice is not uncommon in storm-prone regions of the U.S. such as the Carolinas or Florida, but it is quite a sight to see along the beaches of New York and New Jersey. Local Home Depots donated some trees and city residents have added their own.
City officials said that some areas lost as much as three to five feet in elevation on the beach and that over half a million cubic yards of sand were blown away by the storm. The project has brought the communities together and some hope the custom will last beyond this year.
Alison Kallelis, 33, who was among those to propose the Christmas tree idea, said laying the trees on the beach could become an annual tradition here.
“Every year you keep adding more trees,” she said, “and keep building it up higher and higher.”