Details on $7 million plan to restore east end of Dauphin Island - FOX10 News | WALA

Details on $7 million plan to restore east end of Dauphin Island

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The east end of Dauphin Island where the project will take place. The east end of Dauphin Island where the project will take place.
The project will expand the beach and clean up damaged areas like this. The project will expand the beach and clean up damaged areas like this.
DAUPHIN ISLAND, AL (WALA) -

FOX10 News is committed to keeping you informed on projects that affect you. As we reported Sunday morning, a $7 million restoration project is about to begin on the east end of Dauphin Island.

Reporter Devan Coffaro spoke with the mayor and island locals to find out more.

Island Needs Restoration

"Over time as wave action, storm impacts, things of that nature come in, it essentially scours out the land itself,” said Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier. “Dauphin Island is a barrier island, which serves as a first line of defense for all of South Mobile County and the critical habitats throughout Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay that is the life blood for our seafood industry.”

That's why Collier is excited to start the project. After years of planning, permitting and paperwork, he says he can finally use the $7 million grant from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). That money comes from a federal tax on offshore oil and gas production.

"We're going to put about 300,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach to replace what has been lost over the years to erosion and storm surges,” said Collier. “Then to protect that beach, we are going to reconfigure the jetties offshore so that they will give a heightened level of protection."

He explained the sand will make the beach wider, cleaner and more public-friendly. A bigger beach is not only better for beach goers, but also for the sea turtles that come to Dauphin Island to nest each year. It will also serve as a thicker barrier between the Gulf and the Audubon Sanctuary.

“[The] sanctuary is a freshwater environment. If we get more erosion from the Gulf, that's going to totally ruin the whole ecosystem."

Mixed reactions among locals

Local anglers that we spoke with are excited about the project.

"I think it will help out a lot that needs to be cleaned up down here,” said Zach Crawford. “It will help out fishing and get rid of some of these rocks."

"I'm excited about it!” said Chad Parneoo. “It'll be a better view, won't cut your feet up as much and just a cleaner atmosphere."

However, other beach goers are skeptical about the millions of tax-payer dollars being used.

"There's been bigger things eroding away. I don't see how re-shaping the jetties is going to keep that from happening. It’s a nice idea, maybe it'll work, and maybe it won't,” said Bethany Davidson before walking her dog along the beach. “I think it'll be enjoyable, but it’s probably going to get washed away with the first big storm.”

Project starts soon

Mayor Collier said once the project is completed, it will be up to the city to pay for the maintenance.

"I just think it's going to be a win-win situation for everyone concerned, whether it’s the public, the

Groundbreaking on the project begins within the next 30-45 days. The new beach is expected to be completed by the beginning of January 2016.

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