Image ©Kevin Krejci

Long after the glimmer of the holidays has worn off, thousands of Christmas trees in Long Beach, Long Island are being given new lives as protectors of the beach. The dried out pines were scattered along the shoreline as stand-ins for the protective sand dunes that were washed away after Hurricane Sandy. By using the trees as temporary barriers while the dunes build back up naturally, the community has found a way to recycle thousands of trees that would otherwise be heading to the landfill.

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Over half a million cubic yards of sand washed away from Long Beach during super storm Sandy creating a receding shoreline that leaves residents close to the water in a vulnerable position. Natural sand dunes, which can rise five to ten feet, act as a buffer for the population and structures near the water’s edge. Without them, even a mild storm can cause damage to homes and roads.

The Long Beach Public Works decided to make a recycling miracle happen by turning discarded Christmas trees into temporary beach buffers. The town collected around 3,000 trees from both private citizens and Home Depot. Scattered along the shore line, the old trees have become a line of natural defense, helping to keep the ocean at bay while allowing sand to collect and deposit back on shore.

The trees also foster natural plant growth, which will help the health and longevity of the beach as a whole. Volunteers also placed 100 trees atop dunes in order to catch blowing sand. The tree-laying event brought the community together, gave purpose to trashed trees, and will help rejuvenate Long Beach after last year’s storm.

Via NY Times

Images ©Kevin Krejci and ©Mackabee