After being in litigation for almost a decade, Dauphin Island property owners and the federal government have reached a proposed final settlement over erosion. This settlement gives the island about $1.5 million toward restoring the beaches. The Dauphin Island Property Owners Association filed the lawsuit against the federal government in 2000 blaming chronic erosion and land loss on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging activities in the Mobile Ship Channel. The lawsuit contended that sand naturally flowing on westward currents was trapped in the channel and prevented from replenishing the island’s beaches.
According to the proposed settlement, the federal government would pay $1.44 million and the State of Alabama would pay another $60,000. The funds — after legal fees — would have to be applied to restoring the beach. Because this is a class action lawsuit, a hearing for property owners to voice their opinions about the proposed settlement was scheduled for September 15th in federal court. A federal judge must approve the settlement.
Erosion has plagued the island and hundreds of feet of beach have been lost in some areas on the Gulf of Mexico side. Barrier islands naturally grow, change shape and move with the currents, but the lawsuit claimed land loss was caused by the Corps’ dredging practices.
Source: Mobile Press Register