Dauphin Island: Honesty, Integrity, Transparency
Efforts in 2010 to move sand from the north side of Dauphin Island during the oil spill to construct berms south of Bienville Blvd now threatens to cut the island in half during a future hurricane. The weak point was created by the excavation of 22 ponds on the island’s north side that made the island thinner with a lower elevation. According to coastal engineer Scott Douglass who is working for the Town of Dauphin Island, the weak point depicted by the red rectangle in the below aerial photo is where the next breach will occur during a major storm event.
“According to a recent article, “The ponds began about 40 feet inland from the Mississippi Sound. For weeks, backhoes and dump trucks scooped out 22 holes, some as deep as 8 feet and more than 500 feet across.
By leaving a 40-foot strip of sand between the ponds and the Sound, the island didn’t have to go through a permit application and environmental evaluation process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
According to the 2011 article, Scott Douglass “… told town officials that a breach there would destroy the road, homes, plus sewer and power lines in a two-mile-wide stretch” Douglass was quoted as saying he thinks that location is “…much more vulnerable than it was before. Islands breach where they are lower and where they are thinner. We’ve taken a third of the island and made it thinner and lower. That is where the breach will happen. It’s just a matter of time.” The 2012 article states that Scott Douglass “warned as the ponds were being dug that they would ultimately make the island more vulnerable to breaching — breaking in two — simply because the land mass was so much thinner”.
The question raised is who in our Town government was responsible for approving the excavation of sand from these locations and why did those Town official(s) not consider the warnings of Dr. Douglass at that time. In the rush to address the immediate environmental impacts of the 2010 oil spill, our Town government appears to have created a more dangerous long term problem for Dauphin Island that has the very real potential to significantly affect the lives and property of numerous West End landowners.
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