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Sustainable restoration of Dauphin Island, Alabama: Phase IV


April 2018 - May 2019


Dauphin Island is a strategically significant barrier island along the northern Gulf of Mexico, serving as the only barrier island providing protection to much of the state of Alabama’s coastal natural resources. The island has sustained impacts from both storms and the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill, warranting evaluation of restoration options. This work will identify the most beneficial and effective restoration activities for Dauphin Island that, if implemented, would ensure long-term sustainability and resiliency of the state of Alabama’s only barrier island, its habitats, the living coastal and marine resources it supports, as well as estuarine conditions in Mississippi Sound and the extensive coastal wetlands to the north. The project integrates multiple models to determine long-term impacts of storms and sea level rise on restoration activities and consequent effects on conservation value of the island. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources engaged multiple USGS and ACOE scientists to develop the decision support system that will inform restoration decisions. The project was implemented in Phases I-IV and the final restoration alternatives are almost complete for analysis.

Research Products and Activities


  • Lai, Q. 2018. Quantitative Valuation of Ecosystem Services Provided by Oyster Reefs in Mobile Bay, Alabama. PhD Dissertation, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama


  • Lai, Q. and E. Irwin. 2016. Development of models for evaluating impacts of Dauphin Island restoration alternatives on oyster fisheries in the Mississippi Sound. Alabama Water Resources Conference. Perdido Beach, Alabama.
  • Lai,Q.T., E. R. Irwin and Y. Zhang. Quantifying harvestable fish enhancement and their economic values from oyster reefs in Mobile Bay, Alabama. Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. Tampa, Florida.

  • Lloyd, C and E Irwin. 2018. Faunal Habitat Linkages for Alabama Barrier Island Restoration Assessment on Dauphin Island, Alabama. Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society Spring Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico (oral presentation)

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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 1

Masters Students: 6

Phd Students: 4

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 29

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 14

Scientific Publications: 29

Presentations: 87



Funding Agencies

  • USGS


Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources 
  2. Auburn University
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Wildlife Management Institute