Dauphin Island Causeway Reef Repurposing Project begins final phase

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 3:46 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - It’s the final phase of the Dauphin Island causeway reef repurposing project. Katie Baltzer with the Nature Conservancy of Alabama says it all started with some experimental reef structures from 2011.

“The structures have kind of degraded they weren’t completely protecting the shoreline like we wanted but they had great habitat on them,” said Katie Baltzer.

Step by step those structures have been put to better use. First with the removal of reef balls near Bayfront Park. Then by sorting and salvaging oysters. Now the repurposed reef balls are being placed at the new Dog River reef site.

“We have approximately 7,000 tons of limestone aggregate within the interior portion of the reef site. Then we put these repurposed reef balls along the perimeter of the site,” said Craig Newton with the Alabama Marine Resources Division.

The project will be a big help for the oysters.

“We’re spreading them out and creating more places for them to be growing,” said Grey Cane with the Alabama Wildlife Federation. “They’re going to create more oysters and they’re going to keep living and growing and spreading so it’s only going to help the bay.”

It’ll also help jumpstart the reef ecologically.

“We’ll have lots of oysters on there lots of mussels so it’s going to help jumpstart the whole system for the fishing reef in the future,” added Baltzer.

Most of all it’ll be a great fishing resource for those who come to the Dog River Marina.

“Increase the little fish that are swimming around the reef that will in turn increase all of the predators that eat the little fish, and we will have more fish that we can fish off of the reef,” said Baltzer.

Those with the project expect people to take full advantage of it once it’s finished.

“It’s a mile, mile and a half from the mouth of Dog River,” added Cane. “It’s going to be easily accessible so it’s going to be real easy to check it out and start catching fish on it.”