Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Assessment at Dauphin Island

Science Center Objects

Dauphin Island, Alabama, is the only barrier island providing protection to much of Alabama's coastal natural resources. Severely impacted by repeated extreme events, like Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, USGS and partners are conducting a joint study to evaluate the feasibility of certain alternatives to increase resiliency and sustainability of the island. 

Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Assessment at Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island, Alabama

The Science Issue and Relevance: Dauphin Island, Alabama, is a strategically significant barrier island along the northern Gulf of Mexico and, more specifically, serves as the only barrier island providing protection to much of the state of Alabama’s coastal natural resources. The size of the system spans over 200 acres of barrier island habitat including beach, dune, overwash fans, intertidal wetlands, maritime forest, and freshwater ponds. In addition, Dauphin Island provides protection to approximately one-third of the Mississippi Sound and estuarine habitats including oyster reefs, marshes and seagrasses. The island has been severely impacted by repeated extreme events over the past several centuries, most recently Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, and Isaac, and by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The State of Alabama, the USGS, and the USACE are conducting a joint study to evaluate feasibility level alternatives to increase resiliency and sustainability of Dauphin Island. The overarching goal is to preserve and enhance the ecological functions and values of the island and associated estuarine resources the barrier island helps to maintain.

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: USGS WARC has been identified to lead several tasks under the feasibility study including those listed below. Additional tasks are being developed by the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center but are not included here.

Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Assessment at Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island spans more than 200 acres of barrier island habitat. 

  • Task 1.1 Data Compilation. Existing datasets will be compiled and cataloged. Conzelmann and Hunnicutt
  • Task 1.2 Database Development. Data formats will be leveraged, developed, standardized, and documented. Conzelmann and Hunnicutt
  • Task 1.3 Tool Development for Analyses. A web mapping application will be developed to visualize, spatially search, and disseminate the Dauphin Island data. Conzelmann and Hunnicutt
  • Task 3.3 Habitat Mapping. High-resolution, aerial imagery, and a baseline habitat map will be developed to establish a baseline of the habitat extent within the study area. Enwright and Couvillion
  • Task 5.4 Habitat Modeling. Modeling and assessment of habitats and vegetative units for time-steps for long-term scenario analyses using contemporary relationships (i.e., elevation and landscape position) to produce habitat maps and acreages for geomorphologic scenarios. Wang, Osland, Enwright, and Couvillion
  • Task 7 Monitoring and Adaptive Management. A monitoring and adaptive management plan and a conceptual ecological model will be developed for the project. Meyers and Enwright
  • Task 9 Project Management and Coordination. Meyers

Future Steps: Continued development of identified tasks