Public Comment Requested on Dauphin Island Eco-Tourism Project Change
The Alabama Trustee Implementation Group has released a Draft Evaluation of Second Project Change for the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Restoration Plan I/Environmental Impact Statement Project: Dauphin Island Eco-Tourism and Environmental Education Area (PDF, 7 pages) for public review. We invite you to comment on the draft evaluation through January 27, 2023. The proposed change would increase the project budget by $460,613.
The draft evaluation explains proposed changes made to the Dauphin Island Eco-Tourism and Environmental Education Area restoration project, which was originally approved for funding in the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Final Restoration Plan I and Environmental Impact Statement: Provide and Enhance Recreational Opportunities (RP I/EIS). The original project involved the acquisition of approximately 100 acres on Dauphin Island, Alabama, and the construction of various recreational use amenities at an estimated cost of $4,000,000. The Alabama Trustee Implementation Group approved an initial project change evaluation for this project, reducing the acquisition to 95 acres after the seller expressed a desire to retain approximately 5 acres. The initial project change also reduced the recreational use amenities at the site, and reduced the project’s budget to $1,778,000. The Alabama Trustee Implementation Group completed the acquisition of the 95 acres for the Town of Dauphin Island in January 2019.
After the acquisition was completed, the Town of Dauphin Island issued a Request for Qualifications for the engineering and design of the recreational use amenities for the project. Due to substantially increased costs of construction since the project was originally scoped, even the lowest bid was substantially higher than the revised budget approved through the first project change. As a result, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as the Implementing Trustee, and the Town of Dauphin Island reviewed options for leveraging additional funding streams for the project and were able to secure additional funding in the amount of $2,211,700 through the Gulf of Mexico Security Act (GOMESA) for ecological and recreational use restoration at the site. This additional funding source will allow the completion of the majority of the originally-planned public access amenities (i.e., parking, boardwalk, restrooms, viewing pier, and kayak launch).
The Evaluation of Second Project Change discusses the proposed use and application of this additional funding, along with the need for additional Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) funding to complete the project with recreational use amenities reduced from, but comparable to, those originally contemplated in the RP I/EIS. The Alabama Trustee Implementation Group proposes an increase in the NRDA funding for this project of $460,613 and public comment will be considered before the proposed project changes become final. Even with this proposed funding increase, the NRDA funding for this project still falls within the original project’s funding allocation.
How to Comment on the Draft Evaluation
The public comment period will remain open through January 27, 2023.
Draft Evaluation of Second Project Change for the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Restoration Plan I/Environmental Impact Statement Project: Dauphin Island Eco-Tourism and Environmental Education Area (PDF, 7 pages)
Comments can be made via email to: ALTIG@dcnr.alabama.gov.
After the public comment period ends, the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group will review, consider, and address public comments before releasing the final project change evaluation.
Please visit the Alabama Restoration Area webpage for more information about the work of the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group.