Gulf Shores Coastal Beach Revitalization Project: After Hurricanes

Gulf Shores Coastal Beach Revitalization Project: Dredging operations are kicking into high gear along the Gulf Shores, working on a project to rejuvenate beaches post-Hurricanes Nate and Sally. The Engineered Beach Renourishment Project, covering Orange Beach, Gulf State Park, and Gulf Shores, aims to revive dunes and vegetation, shielding structures and bird habitats from Gulf storms.

Gulf Shores Emergency Management Coordinator Brandan Franklin expressed the project’s dual benefits, providing protection and creating a nesting environment for birds with sea oats and dunes. The completion of the initial of 19 phases this week sets the pace for a full wrap-up by February 2024.

With a whopping 2 million cubic yards of offshore dredged sand, the project is reconstructing dunes, elevating some up to 12 feet. Additional vegetation is being planted to bolster the dune structures. The initiative seeks to restore dunes established in a 2001-2005 project, which succumbed to subsequent hurricanes.

Franklin emphasized the crucial protection provided by elevated dunes, especially after Hurricanes Nate and Sally stripped away their height. The recent winter storms further weakened these defenses. Franklin warned that without this safeguard, the waves could breach condominiums and beach houses.

The inaugural project phase, spanning Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 from the 900 block West Beach Boulevard to W. 12th Street in Gulf Shores, sets the tone for subsequent phases. The work, spanning five shoreline segments from Laguna Key to the AL/FL State Line on Perdido Key, operates round the clock, seven days a week, until the project’s culmination.

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Our Reader’s Queries

What are they doing to Gulf Shores beach?

The beach renourishment project is a critical development for the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach coast in the upcoming year of 2023/24. Due to strong hurricanes and storms, the beach has suffered significant erosion, leading to a reduction in its size. This project aims to restore and replenish the beach, making it more resilient to future natural disasters. It is a crucial effort to protect the coastal area and ensure that the beaches remain a valuable asset for the community and visitors.

Can you put up a canopy on Gulf Shores beach?

Tents or canopies cannot exceed 7’x7’x4′ unless they are in a specified tent zone. Fishing is not allowed at Gulf Place. Use of tobacco and e-cigarettes is prohibited.

Where does the sand come from for beach replenishment?

Offshore sediment is often dredged and pumped onto the beach or deposited nearshore by a hopper dredge. In some cases, it may come from an inland location. Certain restoration projects focus on safeguarding properties by constructing berms or filling dune gaps to absorb wave energy.

Is the sand in Gulf Shores natural?

The sand consists of pristine white quartz crystal, originating from the Appalachian Mountains during the final Ice Age and then carried into the Gulf of Mexico.

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