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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