Alabama beach wins national award for restoration
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. — Dauphin Island has won the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association’s Best Restored Beaches Award for 2017, becoming one of only five communities across the nation to do so. The Association gave Dauphin Island the award due to the community’s work on restoring East End Beach.
The other winners from around the country are Palm Beach, Florida; Popponesset Spit, Massachusetts; Prime Hook Beach, Delaware.; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.
The restoration of East End Beach worked to counteract massive erosion. The project, which is the first of its kind on Dauphin Island, cost $7 million. Since the maintenance was performed about a year ago, residents and tourists in the area now have access to a larger beach and sensitive species now have a more fitting habitat.
East End Beach and Dauphin Island play a critical role in South Alabama’s ecosystem as the state’s only barrier Island. It houses several wildlife sanctuaries in addition to other man-made tourist attractions, such as Fort Gaines. Visitors primarily visit End End Beach for fishing and other outdoor recreation.
According to Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier, to restoration will have positive effects on the economy and the environment. “This is not only good for us humans; it’s also benefitting our environment,” Collier told Fox 10. “And eco-tourism is our bread and butter. Anything we do to enhance the environment also enhances our economy.”