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Submitted by Tim Buckley on Fri, 10/04/2013 - 7:38am.

OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) -- Typically if you were to wander within the dunes along the beach, you'd be in trouble. But, right now, there's a group in Oak Island who are in the dunes to help preserve the beach for years to come as they collects seeds from the sea oats.

"The more sea oats we have, the better protection we have from the storms," says Mike Goodson with the Town of Oak Island. 

The sea oats' strong root system anchors the dunes, which keep water at bay during a strong storm. That can be the difference between homes washing away, or escaping relatively unharmed.

Harvesting the seeds can be a chore though. You need to pull the tops off the oats, then they're allowed to dry, and brought to a facility where a machine mills the hulls to extract the tiny seeds. Then, the town has plenty of supply to replenish the dunes with new plants when they're looking a little bare.

They'll collect about twenty-two hundred gallons of hulls in this project. Thankfully, there are volunteers who gladly show up with helping hands.

"It's important to the health of the beach, and the beach is the livelihood of the town," says resident Bob Butt. "We all love it."

If you'd like to help volunteer, you can contact the Town of Oak Island Department of Public Works.

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