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Become a Beach Steward

IMG_4441Written by: Erika Zambello, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance 

Few scenes are as beautiful as our sugar-sand beaches against the bright emerald hue of the Gulf of Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of people walk the shoreline, swim in the waves, and enjoy the outdoor recreation opportunities our coast provides, but we need everyone to be beach stewards to keep our environment beautiful!

Sea oats are iconic in our region, waving in the Gulf breezes. In addition to providing critical habitat for coastal creatures, they also stabilize the dunes and protect inland areas from storm surges. When enjoying the beach, don’t pick or remove sea oats, and don’t walk on the dunes. Enjoy the rolling sand from the beach and take plenty of pictures! 

Many of us love digging holes on the beach, but don’t forget to fill them back up before leaving for the night! Our beaches host nesting turtles from May 1 until October 31. Sea turtles cannot move backwards, so if they accidentally plunge into a hole, they will get stuck. The same goes for beach chairs, umbrellas, and more, so make sure you take all items off the sand at night. 

We love the sugar sands of our shoreline, so make sure to throw away and recycle all the items you bring to the beach. Wildlife can mistake the trash for food, so dispose of your wrappers, cups, cigarette butts, and other beach items.

Working together, we can keep our beaches beautiful for visitors and locals alike!

*Photo credit: Coastal Cleanup on Okaloosa Island, Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance

Published on Friday, March 22, 2019