GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — There’s something happening below the water’s surface at Little Lagoon Pass.
“You would think that a body of water with probably 400-500 homes in Gulf Shores ought to be taken care of in respect to keeping the pass clear to where we get good water quality,” said resident Ricky Hudson.
Hudson’s aerial photos show just how much sand has collected in the pass between Little Lagoon and the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf Shores. He says the current Alabama Department of Transportation’s dredging project isn’t effective. The dredging happens at least once a year.
“My point in being here today is to hopefully get something done, to get jetties. That seems to be the common solution to this. You’ve got to put jetties out there to stop the sand,” he explained.
The City of Gulf Shores says the main goal of Little Lagoon Pass isn’t for boaters to have access to and from the Gulf, but it’s for allowing natural flow between both bodies of water. Still, the blockage is creating other problems residents say.
ALDOT plans to bring in larger pumps this week to help push the project along and clear the buildup. Right now contractors are behind schedule, though.
“It’s taking longer now mainly because of equipment issues. The contractor has had some equipment issues,” said James Gordon with ALDOT.
ALDOT tells us they plan to complete the dredging project within the next two months.
Hudson said the sand buildup is causing issues for himself and other homeowners. He’s started a website in hopes of learning how the issue is affecting others.
“Even on high tides when the water can’t get out and the wind starts blowing we get 2ft seas in here it does a lot of damage. It does damage to sea walls,” Hudson said.
In October a beach renourishment project will help build back some of the lost sand on nearby West Beach and while that’s a separate project, Hudson believes it will have an impact on the Lagoon. He plans to address his concerns with city leaders and other officials during a planned renourishment meeting happening later this month.
“Something’s gotta stop that sand flow. Now, you’re going to add an additional amount of sand to it,” he said, concerned about more sand getting into the pass.
He’s requesting the City of Gulf Shores pause the renourishment project until ALDOT finishes dredging the pass. Right now the renourishment project is scheduled to begin in October and the city says it shouldn’t impact the pass.
Aerial photos below show Little Lagoon Pass from 2015 when a new bridge was constructed and when the channel was widened, versus a more current view.