Mobile County Commission Accepts Multimillion Dollar Grant for Coastal Restoration & Protection Project
MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. – At its May 10 regular meeting, the Mobile County Commission approved accepting funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) of $22.6 million for construction of the Dauphin Island Causeway Shoreline & Habitat Restoration Project. These funds are leveraged with an additional $7.85 million from NFWF’s Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund for a total impact of more than $30 million.
No matching funds will be required from the Mobile County Commission.
“It’s a great opportunity for Mobile County to receive grant funds for a project that will preserve the environment and protect infrastructure with no out of pocket expense to County taxpayers,” said Commissioner Randall Dueitt who represents District 3, which is bounded to the south by the Gulf of Mexico and to the east by Mobile Bay.
The Dauphin Island Causeway Shoreline & Habitat Restoration Project is one of the largest and most significant investments in an Alabama coastal restoration project to date. It has been approved by Governor Kay Ivey and was championed by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program.
“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation very much appreciates the strong leadership and diligent work of the Mobile County Commission, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other partners in advancing this significant restoration project,“ said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The Foundation remains deeply committed to investing in large-scale restoration efforts such as the Dauphin Island Causeway Shoreline & Habitat Restoration Project that enhance and protect coastal habitats to benefit both native species and the local communities that rely upon them.”
The multi-year project will restore tidal habitat along the 3.3-mile stretch of Dauphin Island Causeway (SR 193) from Bayfront Park to Cedar Point. It will protect Dauphin Island’s only access road from storm impacts and erosion and it will protect 280 acres of healthy, productive salt marsh habitat to the west side of the Dauphin Island Causeway upon which many of the state’s commercially and recreationally significant fish, shellfish and native bird populations rely.
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship said, “This project restores and conserves critical habitat along the Dauphin Island Causeway. At the same time, it protects and strengthens the road that is the hurricane evacuation route for Dauphin Island. ADCNR is excited to see this project continue to move forward with the finalization of this next phase of funding. We thank our partners at NFWF and Mobile County for their continued work in making this all happen.”
Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said,”The causeway leading to Dauphin Island offers an important lifeline for residents and visitors of our barrier island community while protecting critical marshland and habitats in that area. We are especially grateful for those entities that have collaborated on this worthwhile endeavor and look forward to seeing the many positive results generated by this comprehensive shoreline restoration project.”
Design and engineering have already been completed and construction will begin in summer. The timeline to completion is somewhat dependent upon the Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging to expand the Mobile Bay shipping channel.