Long-term erosion combined with increased traffic during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response have caused loss of wetlands and ecosystem services at Lightning Point.
Together with the City of Bayou La Batre, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Mobile County, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy initiated the Lightning Point restoration project to revitalize and restore this ecologically and culturally important area in Bayou La Batre. Our team's plan for this restoration project combines an innovative approach to traditional shoreline protection through adaptive breakwaters, restoring multiple habitats including marsh, and intertidal oyster reef, shell-hash beach, scrub-shrub, and tidal creeks, and complementary green infrastructure amenities to allow for managed community access to the restored site. We designed the project to provide shoreline protection, habitat creation, managed access, and beneficial use of dredged material. Our marsh marsh design includes tidal creeks to mimic the nearby natural marsh, provides for flushing, and also provides a hydrologic connection between the current and newly-created marsh area. We consulted local wildlife experts to ensure the designed marsh will provide appropriate habitat for desired species. Following construction, thin-layer deposition of dredged material will take place periodically to continue to raise the marsh elevation and nourish the wetland.