Friday, July 18, 2014

Alabama's Dauphin Island Meets 'Years of Living Dangerously'

Dauphin Island, Ala. A historic island may soon be history. (Credit: Click to enlarge.
Rather than remove sand from the system, like the Army Corps does to maintain the Mobile Ship Channel, Dauphin Islanders say they should receive all suitable material removed from the channel and more still from offshore sand deposits that could be pumped to the island via underwater conduits, just as is being done on a series of similarly battered barrier islands in neighboring Mississippi.

"We see that as one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves," said Jeff Collier, 53, the town's part-time mayor of 16 years.  "If we don't do it, then everything out here could be gone."

A 2013 analysis on Dauphin Island from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program reached similar conclusions, noting that the island has "already experienced impacts from changes to the climate, and these changes and impacts are expected to continue into the future."

Yet when asked about the relationship between Dauphin Island's fragile condition and climate change, the mayor chose his words carefully.  "If you ask me if climate change is responsible the problems we have out here, I would say, 'I don't know,'" Collier said.  "But I do believe we need to plan for the future as if it is happening.  If we don't, we could lose everything."

Alabama's Dauphin Island Meets 'Years of Living Dangerously'

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