A Letter from David Meyer to U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Regarding BP Oil Spill Settlement Restoration Funding
for the opportunity to comment on the distribution of funds from the
Gulf Spill Restoration Plan.
As you may
be aware, Dauphin Island, Alabama has long been affected by the
near-shore oil and gas platforms; in recent years, the number of gas
rigs visible on the horizon has tripled to at least 25. The reason that
Dauphin Island has gas rigs visible on the horizon is that Alabama has
long been friendly to the oil and gas industries, allowing these rigs
within ten miles of the shoreline, instead of the more conservative
distance of other neighboring states.
long suffered from carbon-stained beaches, the sight and smell of the
offshore rigs, and occasional scares brought by leaks, fires, and even
an offshore platform beaching on our shoreline after Hurricane Katrina
Dauphin Island is one of the communities that is supposed to benefit
from the tariffs collected through CIAPS and GOMESA funds, historically,
most of those funds have been spent elsewhere, often in areas that have
little or nothing to do with the stated purpose of those funds.
much of our Island is in a fight for our very existence, due to erosion
and sand starvation, largely caused by the dredging of the Mobile
Shipping Channel. Much of Dauphin Island is slowly being lost to the
Gulf, which is a terrible shame, given its value to the entire region.
Hurricane Katrina actually severed the damaged Island, cutting a channel
from north to south that widened rapidly once it was breeched, as
currents flowed through, widening the cut each day, until the breech
became over a mile across. Thankfully, BP provided funding after the
spill for an emergency project to close the cut, for which we are
grateful, but the breeching of the Island indicates that the entire
Island could soon be lost, if the current erosion and sand deficits are
Island is the first landfall between the Yucatan peninsula and the
mainland of Alabama. It protects the Mobile Metropolitan area, and
nearby Bayou LaBatre, Coden, Theodore, and smaller communities. Dauphin
Island is a valuable wildlife refuge for migratory waterfowl and many
other living species. Dauphin Island protects tens of thousands of acres
of wetlands and salt marshes along the Mississippi Sound, protecting
oyster beds that support the seafood industry. Dauphin Island is also
the nearest Gulf of Mexico beach for the residents of Mobile County, and
much of the state of Alabama and visitors arriving via Interstate 65
from the Ohio River Valley. Dauphin Island also protects the
Intracoastal Waterway, which passes along, and is protected by, the
Island's northern shoreline.
United States Federal Government has recognized the value of the Gulf
Coast barrier island system, and has recently funded a $450 million
dollar project to restore barrier islands off the coast of Mississippi,
the project ended just short of Dauphin Island, literally just a few
miles to the west. Now, in the current economic environment, the money
is not forthcoming to continue the project eastward to Dauphin Island.
Island already has an engineering plan, recently completed, by Dr. Scott
Douglas of South Coast Engineering, to restore and renourish the
shoreline of Dauphin Island, protecting and preserving the Island for
future generations. All that is necessary at this point is to raise the
funds to make this project happen.
project on Dauphin Island should be given strong consideration as a
candidate for funding. Dauphin Island weathered much damage from the BP
spill, and continues to fight a public perception of oil-tainted
beaches. Parts of Dauphin Island are still yielding large amounts of oil
and oil spill byproducts.
projects are certainly worthy of consideration, the very existence of
our Island may depend on this fund. Helping to preserve Dauphin Island
from erosion would be an excellent use of these funds, and may represent
the Island's sole remaining chance for survival.
for your consideration of this matter. Feel free to contact me for more
information, or to visit
Dauphin Island Property Owner
Copyright © Dauphin Island Restoration