St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
The USGS is collaborating with the State of Alabama and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support the formulation of a plan to preserve and protect the natural resources of Dauphin Island, Alabama. Scientists are collecting geologic data and developing a numerical model framework to understand the evolution of Dauphin Island over the last 15-20 years and assess the future evolution of the island over the next 15-50 years, including the impacts of potential restoration scenarios. These data and simulations will be used to inform decisions made for management of Dauphin Island, and the methodology can also be applied to inform barrier island restoration and management in other areas.
Read more in the Project Overview.
Bathymetric and Geophysical Characterization
High resolution, regional bathymetric surveys combined with topographic elevation data help characterize and monitor the morphology and geologic framework of the inner shelf and nearshore environments surrounding Dauphin Island.
Sediment Characterization and Distribution
The sediments on and around barrier islands like Dauphin Island can be highly variable. Collecting information about the distribution of sediments helps identify the dominant coastal processes that transport them, habitat variations, and vegetation composition.
Shoreline Change Analysis
Analysis of historical gulf and estuarine-facing shoreline positions are used to quantify the short and long-term island evolution. These data, along with back-barrier marsh cores, are used to quantify the island migration, determine how the two sides of the island interact with each other, and whether the marsh areas are eroding or accreting as the island migrates.
Hydrodynamic and Morphological Evolution Modeling
A numerical modeling framework is being developed to understand the evolution of Dauphin Island over the last 15-20 years. The framework includes model components to simulate longshore sediment transport, storm-induced dune erosion and overwash, and dune growth/recovery. This framework will also be used to assess the future evolution of the island, including the impacts of potential restoration scenarios.