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Dredging project to help eroded West Beach beaches underway

Posted on March 6, 2023

An ever-changing coastline that shows the scars of multiple tropical storms and hurricanes over the years and a disappearing beach.

“Sliver beach right now,” says John Qualheim as he settles in with his back against a sand dune and the surf breaking around his toes.

He is from Wisconsin he’s been coming here for several years. This year his favorite spot along West Beach is a little different.

“You know last year we were sitting somewhere out there maybe 20 yards on the beach,” said Qualheim. “We would have been covered in the dune here.”

While a major beach restoration project is expected later this year, for now, sand is being pumped from Little Lagoon Pass into some of the hot spots along the beach.

“We believe it’s going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 thousand cubic yards,” siad city engineer Mark Acreman. “To put that in perspective it’s about two thousand dump trucks worth of sand. It will be substantial. You will see an improvement. Is it the magic bullet? No.”

Mother Nature has already started making some improvements, the sand shifting with the change of season.

“We gain beaches in the summer, we lose beaches in the winter that’s kind of a natural process,” says Acreman.

Still, a big job lies ahead and from where Qualheim sits, “This is going to take a lot of sand but sitting out here beats shoveling snow back home.”

The dredging project will last at least two months. The major project to renourish beaches funded by FEMA in Gulf Shores, through Gulf State Park and in Orange Beach is expected to happen after the summer season.


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