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Possible Long Term Solutions

The following is a list of possible long term solutions for Dauphin Island, based on research into our situation, as well as what other coastal communities are doing.  The hope is that one or more of these solutions could be funded and put in place within a year or two.


Dump or pump dredged sand closer to the island

Since the Mobile Outer Bar Channel dredging is interfering with the natural littoral drift from Fort Morgan (and points east) to Fort Gaines (and points west), the dredged sand should be sent - via barge or pipeline - to the area where it would naturally flow otherwise: Dauphin Island's south shoreline.  The sand is currently dumped too far out and is "wasted" in deep waters.  If the dredged sand deposition location could be changed to points closer to the island, this alone may be sufficient to keep the south shoreline nourished on an ongoing basis.  (See Sand Deposition Location)


We hope to influence the Governor, Alabama State Legislature, Alabama’s Congressional representatives, and the Alabama State Port Authority to instruct the Corps of Engineers to deposit the sand dredged from the Mobile Harbor ship channel closer to Dauphin Island in a manner consistent with the Corps’ 1978 recommendation that was never fully implemented.


For more information, see Dredging.


Widen the Beach

Many sources agree that whatever solution is used to help provide and retain sand, it is necessary to also widen the beach.  Since the south shoreline has lost 100 feet or more in width of sand over the last few years, this should be restored in conjunction with any retaining structure or any other solution.  Sand could be trucked in, or pumped via pipelines, from locations with a more abundant supply.



A number of people have suggested jetties to help trap sand and help it to accumlate on the shoreline.  Dr. Scott Douglass has said that a jetty or groin installed just east of the Katrina Cut would help.  Perhaps a jetty could also be installed just west of the Katrina Cut, to help fill in the cut as well.  The cut has created an oversalinated environment in the Sound and restoring it would go a long way to reviving the fishing industry there, as well as protecting the coastal marshes near the mainland.


Dredging Pipelines under Bienville

Bury dredging pipelines under Bienville Blvd and employ hydraulic dredges to pump some of the sand from the massive washover sand fans (created during Hurricane Katrina) from the north shore to the south shore.  This solution, once implemented, could be used periodically to help replenish the south shore.



One possibility is to build a hard seawall of concrete or other material, such as that used in places like Galveston.  With an elevation of app. 20 feet above sea level, a tall seawall is do-able for Galveston, but this may not be workable for the low elevation of Dauphin Island.  But it is worth examining.  A hard seawall could be constructed much like a sand berm, except that it would hold up to a great degree better against hurricane winds and storm surge.  One of the drawbacks of this option is a reduced aesthetic.  A vegetated sand dune or flat beach is the look to which we are accustomed on Dauphin Island.


Artificial Reef

Numerous coastal communities across the U.S. have employed artificial reef systems some distance offshore as a method by which to slow down wave action.  This may or may not be a good solution for Dauphin Island but it is worth considering.


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