Why save Dauphin Island?
It’s Alabama’s ONLY Barrier Island!
As Alabama’s only barrier island, Dauphin Island is the first line of defense to protect the mainland coastal towns of Coden, Bayou La Batre and Alabama Port from hurricanes. Without the natural breakwater provided by the island, storm surge through the Mississippi Sound would be far more severe.
What about Gulf Shores and Orange Beach?
There are scientific geological criteria a land mass must meet in order to be considered a barrier island rather than merely a coastal area.
The canal that “separates” Gulf Shores and Orange Beach from the rest of Baldwin County is a man-made body of water. That narrow cut-through does not a barrier island make. Those communities are not natural islands, let alone barrier islands. They were not formed over the millennia through geological processes to be a breakwater for the coastal mainland, which is the very definition of a barrier island.
A short definition of barrier island is: “A long, relatively narrow island running parallel to the mainland, built up by the action of waves and currents, and serving to protect the coast from erosion by surf and tidal surges.”
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach were not “built” this way. Nor do they serve as a breakwater for the mainland since they essentially ARE the mainland.
The closest thing Baldwin County has to a barrier island is the Fort Morgan peninsula. It is not an island by scientific reckoning – it is a peninsula. But its geological profile and character are much more like a barrier island than its sister communities directly to the east.
More information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrier_island