$7 million project underway to restore Dauphin Island beach - FOX10 News | WALA

$7 million project underway to restore Dauphin Island beach

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Dauphin Island Restoration Project. Photo: FOX10 News Reporter Alexa Knowles. Dauphin Island Restoration Project. Photo: FOX10 News Reporter Alexa Knowles.

Erosion problems on Dauphin Island are once again threatening beaches and wildlife. A multi-million dollar restoration project is underway to stop it, but some are worried it won't last. 

This is the first beach restoration project on Dauphin Island, costing $7 million. The money came from a state-funded grant. The project has been three years in the making and will take about a month to finish.

Workers are dredging sand from five miles off shore, and pumping that sand under the water and onto the shore where the beach has lost about 700-800 feet of the shoreline because of erosion.

Mayor of Dauphin Island, Jeff Collier, says erosion has been a problem that's been getting worse, and hopes this project will be the solution, with beaches being such an important part of island life. 

"Even though the material is going to move around by nature's whim, it's all gonna still stay within the island's littoral system, so it's gonna benefit the island in some form or fashion for many many generations to come."

One place especially benefiting from the project is the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, which is a freshwater habitat that relies heavily on the stretch of beach being restored for protection. Andrew Haffenden, who's been coming to the island for thirty years, says he's been worried how long the sanctuary will last if the beach keeps eroding. 

"It's going to erode the dunes, and once those dunes go the salt water comes into the land area and completely changes the vegetation, because the vegetation can't take that saltwater so, the entire sanctuary for land birds would eventually be lost if the dunes go."

Workers will add several hundred feet of shoreline to a mile long stretch of land from Ft. Gaines to the start of residential homes. Many hope restoring the beach will bring even more people to the island for the upcoming summer season.

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