Thanks to a $6 million dollar monumental endeavor, the long lost Sand Island at Alabama’s Sand Island Lighthouse is again a sand island.
It is believed that the new island will help protect what most consider the last great masonry lighthouse built on the Gulf Coast. Built in 1873, the lighthouse was once home to lighthouse keepers and their families and the island was once large enough for the lighthouse keepers to keep a variety of animals that were able to graze on the island.
But time and tragedy took their toll on this remote outpost that lost its island primarily because of the dredging of the Mobile Ship Channel that cut through the natural sand delivery to the island.
There is no question that this was a colossal project that required sand and heavy equipment to be brought to the island. As sand was pumped from and out of a big pipe, bulldozers that had been brought to the site pushed the sand to its appropriate location as surveyors marked the various areas to make sure that the sand was correctly distributed.
Engineers and scientists believe that the island will now stay in place. Instead of dumping the sand that is dredged out of the Mobile Ship Channel in locations far off shore, as has been done previously, efforts in the future will be made to dump the sand nearer the island where the currents of Mother Nature will push the sand to the island.
The money to pay for this costly project came from funds from the BP oil spill that was secured by a federal grant from those funds by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
This story appeared in the
Jan/Feb 2012 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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