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Sustainable restoration of Dauphin Island, Alabama: Phase III


April 2017 - May 2018


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 this Phase (III) developed the prototype decision tool for determination of conservation value associated with restoration decisions.

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.
  • Irwin, ER and MC Lloyd. February 2017. Dauphin Island Restoration for Sustainable, Conservation Values. Annual Meeting of the Alabama Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
  • 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.

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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1936

Presentations: 4260



Funding Agencies

  • USGS Dept of Conservation


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey