Four owners have received warnings from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

By Marisa Spyker
May 24, 2018
Getty Images

If you live in Florida, you’ve likely been hearing about the Sunshine State’s beaches on the news a lot this spring. In addition to the controversial law that renders some beaches off limits to the public come July, a new transgression involving beach sand is now making waves.

According to First Coast News, four oceanfront homeowners in the Jacksonville area recently received warning letters from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection after a complaint was filed accusing them of “beach scraping,” which involves taking sand from the beach to build dunes for protection and privacy in front of your home.

Related: What do the Hurricane Categories Really Mean?

The practice was common in the early 1900s, according to the story, but was eventually regulated after heavy scraping began to do more harm than good to the beaches.

Replenishing dunes is often necessary following major storms, but doing it properly—by shipping in commercial sand—can be quite costly. A neighbor told First Coast News he spent about $28,000 following Hurricane Matthew to rebuild the dunes in front of his house.

The warning letters are just the first step in the FDEP’s investigation. If it’s found that there were violations of Florida law against beach scraping, the owners could be responsible for financing the beach’s restoration and possibly fined.