orange beach logoJanuary 12, 2019 - Orange Beach, AL - (OBA®) - The widening and improvement of Canal Road, environmental restoration of Cotton Bayou and Terry Cove, the creation of the Gulf Coast Environment Research Station, the designing and planning of the Gulf Coast Wildlife Recovery and Interpretive Center, expansion of the Orange Beach Wildlife Center, seawall repairs at Alabama Point, and sewer main upgrades - these are projects totaling $40 million that the City of Orange Beach is poised to receive from RESTORE Act funds.

“I was very pleased with the outcome of the RESTORE Act distribution in the first round of funding,” Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon said. “Overall, we came away with $40 million worth of projects and I greatly appreciate the way that all of the members of the Recovery Council worked together to distribute the money amongst Mobile and Baldwin counties. Gov. (Kay) Ivey and Jo Bonner were also extremely instrumental in facilitating the equal distribution of those funds and we greatly appreciate their contribution."

2018 Restoration Progress Report 

In November, Gov. Ivey announced the U.S. Department of Treasury has approved Alabama’s Multiyear Implementation Plan (MIP) for Gulf Coast recovery. This plan, developed by the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, proposes 15 activities for Direct Component RESTORE funding (also known as Bucket 1) for a total estimated cost of $192,416,759. Now that the plan has been approved, individual grant applications will be submitted to Treasury and officially awarded before project activity can begin.

Within that Multiyear Implementation Plan is an estimated $58.5 million for “Baldwin County ALDOT Capacity Improvements” that includes $20 million for the widening of Canal Road that includes a section between Williams Silvers Parkway and State Highway 161. The relocation of underground utilities for that project will be ongoing up to Memorial Day. The roadway widening will begin in the fall.

The remainder of the projects in Orange Beach are part of a second set of RESTORE Act funding allocation known as Draft State Expenditure Plan (SEP) or Bucket 3. The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council approved projects for the SEP in March of 2018 and the required comment period for those projects ended on Nov. 20. The comments are under review and will be consider in preparing the Final State Expenditure Plan that will be submitted to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council for review and final approval.

The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council was created with the passage of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act).  The 10-member council is made up of the Governor, who serves as chair; the Director of the Alabama State Port Authority, who serves as vice-chair; the Chairman of the Baldwin County Commission; the President of the Mobile County Commission; and the Mayors of Bayou La Batre, Dauphin Island, Fairhope, Gulf Shores, Mobile, and Orange Beach.  Former Congressman Jo Bonner serves as the Governor’s representative in her absence.

For more information on the Recovery Council, visit https://www.restorealabama.org/.

In addition to the projects in line for RESTORE Act funds, Orange Beach has been approved to receive $622,915 via the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment established to address natural resource damages sustained by the 2010 BP oil spill. The money will fund the Coastal Alabama Sea Turtle (CAST) Triage project that will provide a new, appropriately equipped facility and program for the initial triage, treatment, release, and/or transfer of injured or ill sea turtles. Currently, Alabama has no facilities equipped for handling sea turtle strandings. The project would construct a new facility on property owned by the City of Orange Beach and establish a program that would be supported by the City of Orange Beach in the future.

A breakdown of the RESTORE Act projects is as follows:

Bucket 1 Project Slate - $192,416,758.75 (estimate)

(Bucket 1 refers to the Direct Component of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund that was created from Clean Water Act Penalties related to the BP Oil Spill in 2010. The Direct Component includes 35% of the Trust Fund divided among the five Gulf Coast States for ecosystem restoration, economic development and tourism promotion.)
  • Aloe Bay Harbour Town (Town of Dauphin Island), Phases II & Ill - $17,412,013

  • Historic Africatown Welcome Center - $3,689,215

  • Redevelop City Docks (City of Bayou La Batre) - $21,658,840

  • Northwest Satsuma Water and Sewer Project - $1,813,521

  • Mobile County Blueway Trail Development - $8,240,000

  • Water Distribution System Upgrades (City of Bayou La Batre) - $5,465,180

  • Aloe Bay Harbour Town (Town of Dauphin Island), Phase I - $2,183,485

  • Baldwin County - Baldwin Beach Express 1-10 to 1-65 Extension Right of Way Acquisition - $11,678,482

  • Mount Vernon Water Treatment Plant - $1,545,000

  • Alabama State Port Authority Automotive Logistics/RO-RO Terminal - $29,630,741

  • Gulf Coast Center for Ecotourism and Sustainability - $10,040,702

  • Isle Dauphine Beach and Golf Study - $375,000

  • Innovating St. Louis Street: Mobile's Technology Corridor - $6,062,065

  • Baldwin County ALDOT Capacity Improvements - $58,504,000 ($20 million to Canal Road widening in Orange Beach)

  • Mobile Greenway Initiative - $9,991,000

  • Working Waterfront and Greenspace Restoration Project (City of Fairhope) - $6,386,000

  • Planning Grant for Amended MIP - $300,000

Proposed Bucket 3 Slate - $132,294,450 (estimate)

(Bucket 3 refers to the Spill Impact Component of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund that was created from Clean Water Act Penalties related to the BP Oil Spill in 2010. The Spill Impact Component includes 30% of the Trust Fund divided among the five Gulf Coast States, according to a formula to implement State Expenditure Plans that require approval by the Alabama Gulf Coast Restoration Council.)

Bucket 3 projects related to Orange Beach in bold amount to $20,074,463.

  • Environmental Restoration of Cotton Bayou & Terry Cove - $515,000

  • Development for a Regional Strategic Plan for the Coastal Alabama Region: Phase III - $579,375

  • Expansion of the Orange Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center/Gulf Coast Wildlife Recovery and Interpretative Center - $472,255

  • Auburn University Gulf Coast Engineering Research Station in Orange Beach - $9,270,000

  • Characterization and Delineation of Significant Sand Resource Areas Essential for Beach Restoration, Offshore Alabama - $950,175

  • City of Chickasaw Sewer Rehabilitation Project - $1,339,000

  • Alabama Gulf Seafood Marketing Program - $2,937,699

  • Aloe Bay/Mississippi Sound Water Quality Enhancement Project (Town of Dauphin Island) - $11,845,000

  • Extension of Effluent Force Main from Bayou La Batre WWTF - $16,068,000

  • Collection System/Lift Station Upgrades (Bayou La Batre) - $13,189,150

  • Lillian Park Beach Habitat and Shoreline Protection - $645,254

  • Perch Creek Area Sanitary Sewer Trunk Line GIPP (MAWSS) - 3,665,048

  • Longevity, Stability & Water Quality Improvements, Bon Secour DMDA - $350,966

  • Replacement of Substandard Facilities at the ADEM Coastal Office & Mobile Field Office - $6,038,599

  • Mobile Area Storm Water Mapping & Resiliency Planning - $3,090,000

  • Three Mile Creek Watershed Restoration - $12,081,900

  • Fairhope Area Community-Based Comprehensive Land Use Plan - $669,500

  • Fort Morgan Parkway Trail Extension - $4,566,608

  • Meaher Park Improvements - $3,553,500

  • Mobile County Dirt Road Paving (Sediment Reduction) - $10,395,914

  • Alabama Point Seawall Repair - $2,562,640

  • Canal Road Improvements East of SR161 (Orange Beach) - $1,903,718

  • Orange Beach North Sewer Force Main Upgrade - $5,350,850

  • Storm Water Management Improvements for Toulmin Springs Branch and Gum Tree Branch (City of Mobile) - $1,222,744

  • Fairhope Sewer Upgrade Phase I - $10,300,000

  • Little Lagoon Restoration Project (Gulf Shores) - $6,175,557

  • Eastern Shore Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) Prevention Plan - $1,030,000

  • One Mobile: Reconnecting People, Work and Play through Complete Streets - $1,287,500

  • Planning Grant to Amend SEP - $300,000

PROJECTS PROPOSED FOR BUCKET 3 SLATE THAT ARE IN ORANGE BEACH:

Alabama Point Seawall Repair (City of Orange Beach) $2,562,640

The purpose of this project is to rebuild the existing Alabama Point Seawall with a more resilient method of construction for the tidally-influenced marine environment and to protect the recent improvements on the upland portion of the area. Implementation of this project will protect a unique and valuable public access point at Perdido Pass Seawall Park.

Canal Road Improvements East of State Road 161 (City of Orange Beach) - $1,903,718

This project will promote community resilience and economic growth by addressing the hindrance of economic development on Canal Road east of and near the SR-161 intersection in Orange Beach. Growth of businesses and the tourism industry in Orange Beach have led to increased traffic volumes, resulting in a need to enhance capacity and efficiency. This project will provide sufficient infrastructure improvements to allow the City of Orange Beach to safely address economic growth to benefit the local economy.

Environmental Restoration of Cotton Bayou & Terry Cove (City of Orange Beach) - $515,000

This project will provide planning assistance to develop Best Available Science (BAS) documentation needed to plan and carry out a comprehensive environmental study. Once completed, the BAS will be used to prepare an engineering plan and cost estimate for restoration of the Cotton Bayou/Terry Cove system in Orange Beach, Alabama. The Cotton Bayou/Terry Cove system is located in the heart of Orange Beach, Alabama, and is a component of the larger Perdido Bay watershed, which is connected to the Gulf of Mexico by the Perdido Pass. The canals, marshes, and other shallow waters of the Cotton Bayou/Terry Cove system have historically served as nursery habitat for aquatic and avian wildlife. Over time, human development and re-development has replaced much of the natural shoreline with seawalls and other structures. Historically poor storm water run-off management, natural extreme tropical storm events, and an ongoing rapidly growing population may have contributed to sediment has accumulated in ways that disrupt natural hydrodynamic mixing. These and other unknown factors are contributing to sedimentation buildup and water quality degradation; as well as, highly fluctuating temperatures, salinity, and dissolved oxygen concentrations, which may be driving algae blooms, fish kills, and other indicators of poor ecological health. The goal of this project is to develop a science-based, comprehensive understanding of the factors governing the environmental and ecological health of the Cotton Bayou/Terry Cove system, leading to a scientifically-defensible plan for restoring the ecological and environmental health within this system. 

Expansion of the Orange Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center/Gulf Coast Wildlife Recovery and Interpretative Center - $472,255

This project proposal consists of two components: 1) the immediate expansion of the current Orange Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center to address critical capacity needs for rehabilitating a variety of injured wildlife species (construction of flight/pre-conditioning enclosures); and 2) the planning and design of a larger, permanent Gulf Coast Wildlife Recovery and Interpretive Center in the City of Orange Beach, Alabama. The vision for this permanent facility is to effectively support the needs of the Alabama Gulf Coast region and potentially provide assistance for areas to the east into the Florida panhandle and to the west into Mississippi. It is anticipated the permanent facility will provide on-site rehabilitation and serve as a multi-facility coordinator for wildlife rehabilitation services on a regional scale for a variety of species, while also offering tourism and stewardship opportunities. This component of the project proposes the initial planning and design groundwork for such a regionallysignificant facility and associated program coordination. As part of the development of the plan, Orange Beach staff will seek to partner with other coastal municipalities, state and federal agencies, applicable non-profits and NGOs, and universities to conduct a variety of analyses and benchmarking. Once these efforts are completed, a conceptual framework for the facility and its programs will be developed to economically and effectively improve our Gulf Coast region’s preparedness and capacity to respond to incidents impacting wildlife

Auburn University Gulf Coast Engineering Research Station in Orange Beach - $9,270,000

This project proposes the planning, engineering and design, and construction to establish the Auburn University Gulf Coast Engineering Research Station (GCERS). In addition, the proposed activity includes two years’ operation and maintenance. The GCERS will be led by the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University in collaboration with the City of Orange Beach, and with opportunities for collaboration with other institutions. The vision is to develop a world-class research facility where engineers and collaborating applied scientists from private and public institutions in Alabama can engage in fundamental and applied engineering rese

Orange Beach North Sewer Force Main Upgrade (City of Orange Beach) - $5,350,850

This project consists of the replacement of approximately 8 miles of sewer force main from a point on Highway 180 in Orange Beach to an existing lift station on County Road 12. The area benefitted by this upgrade will include areas north and east of Wolf Bay to Josephine as well as areas directly served by the force main. Implementation of this project will improve water quality in Wolf Bay by preventing failures in the existing main and decreasing the use of on-site septic systems.

NOTABLE PROJECT PROPOSED FOR BUCKET 3:

Characterization and Delineation of Significant Sand Resource Areas Essential for Beach Restoration, Offshore Alabama (Geological Survey of Alabama) - $950,175

This planning assistance project will support coastal restoration efforts by promoting sand resource identification and assessing the feasibility of dredging State and outer continental shelf (OCS) sand deposits. The data needed to fully identify “beach quality” sands does not exist, and there is not an updated platform to examine and disseminate this knowledge. In order to maintain and improve coastal infrastructure, economic, and coastal habitat resiliency, viable nearshore sand sources suitable for beach placement are essential. Moreover, the need to identify sand sources through further data assimilation and collection has never been greater. Beach restoration does not ensure a long-term solution to erosive influences such as storms and rising sea level. Infrastructure, tourism, storm protection, and ecosystem services are dependent upon a stable beach environment driving the need for long-term beach maintenance. Offshore sand resources are essential to the maintenance of amenity beaches and the intertidal and beach habitat they provide. The Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, as well as the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, have acknowledged the essential importance of Alabama’s gulf-fronting beaches through previous investments in offshore “beach compatible” sand searches and nearshore dredging and placement in needed areas. This is a significant financial investment that should be appreciated both in the state and by those with an interest in Gulf of Mexico resources. Gulf-fronting beaches along Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama, are continuously monitored by Olsen Associates, Inc. (City of Gulf Shores, City of Orange Beach, Gulf State Park) and the Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA/Fort Morgan Peninsula, Dauphin Island). Both entities are familiar with the stress that natural (e.g., hurricanes) and human-induced (e.g., oil spill response and recovery) disasters can bring to the beach ecosystem and acknowledge the benefits of maintained beaches to the region. The economic importance of Alabama’s coastal area is intrinsically linked to the condition of Alabama’s Gulf-fronting beaches. 

NOTABLE PROJECTS IN BUCKET 1:

Baldwin County ALDOT Capacity Improvements (Baldwin County) - $58,504,000

The Alabama Department of Transportation, Baldwin County, and the cities of Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope, Orange Beach, and Gulf Shores are cooperatively pursuing the completion of five major infrastructure projects long-needed in the Gulf Coast Region to reduce congestion and enhance access to and between the surrounding areas. The project partners seek to leverage funding from three major sources to add additional lanes to three major state routes in five separate projects, totaling 18.31 miles of capacity improvements. (This includes the widening of Canal Road in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.)

Baldwin Beach Express 1-10 to 1-65 Extension Right of Way Acquisition (Baldwin County) - $11,678,482

This submittal seeks funding for Right of Way (ROW) property acquisition to accommodate the proposed 24.5 mile Baldwin Beach Express extension between 1-10 and 1-65. The objective is to acquire all right-of-way necessary to move to the construction phase. Regional economic recovery, tourism, industrial growth, and public safety are supported and enhanced through the completion of this project.