Repeated erosion a ‘serious’ problem in Gulf Shores, leaving Beach Blvd. vulnerable

Hurricane Sally

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Erosion of Alabama’s beaches started back with Hurricane Nate. It got worse during Laura, and exponentially worse during Sally.

“We lost about 410,000 cubic yards of sand in Sally,” said City Engineer Mark Acreman. “Took a big toll on our sand dune system.”

Those sand dunes protect the homes, businesses and roadways near the beach.

“It acts as a guardrail, the waves come in and hit the sand and dune system first,” Acreman said. “And it dissipates the energy from the waves. Although energy transferred into beach erosion, it does save the structures that are behind the dune system.”

But now, they’re essentially all but obliterated in most spots west of W. 6th Street. So storm surge that usually wouldn’t breach now has the potential to cause serious damage.

That’s why Acreman is pleading with FEMA to approve funding for a dredging project that would build the beaches back up, something he says is imperative to the the survival of the infrastructure of Gulf Shores, as well as the city’s economy.

“The validity of our economy down here is this tourism, and if there’s no beach, there’s no tourism,” he said.”

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