Restore logoBy John Mullen

June 6, 2019 - Orange Beach, AL - (OBA®) - Orange Beach has been asked to administer $475,000 of a $3 million Restore Act project studying hydrology and sediment in Perdido Bay from the U.S. 98 bridge in Lillian to the Gulf.

“It’s a three-part study for beneficial use of dredged sediment,” Coastal Resources Director Phillip West said. “The state reached out to us because we have done almost like a phase one for the lower Perdido and that’s one of the three sites to study. Because we had coordinated that they asked us if we could take all the lower Perdido studies, manage those and direct the contractors and consultants.”

The city council OK’d the agreement with the state during the June 4 joint regular session and work session.

Areas in the study include the Denton Oyster Reef, a feasibility study on the restoration of Grand Bay, Mississippi, barrier islands and studying sediment movement in the lower Perdido Bay/Pass area from the U.S. 98 bridge in Lillian to the Gulf. The study is being done in advance of the dredging of the Mobile Harbor Navigation Project and how to use materials removed to deepen and widen the channel.

This would include “complete planning, design, engineering, and feasibility assessments for three project areas where future placement of dredge sediments would achieve habitat restoration. Designing habitat restoration projects that are ready to utilize such materials saves money, creates habitat and is a Gulf-wide objective of the Gulf Regional Sediment Management Master Plan.”

The first step, West said, would be to seek proposals from firms who are interested in conducting the study.

Phillip West1“We’ll put out requests for qualifications once we finalize this agreement with the state,” West said. “Once they give us the green light to do announcement and begin the actual work then we’ll proceed hopefully with the whole process. You put the request for qualifications out for 30 days. You have the committee score those respondents, select one, negotiate and award the contract. I’m thinking maybe three months.”

Movement of sediment throughout Perdido Pass and the bay will be tracked. The pass is a vital part Orange Beach’s charter fishing program.

“Determining all the forces that go toward moving sediment, displacing sediment, causing erosion, causing hotspots, even accretion if that’s the case, or shoaling,” West said. “Then we’ll determine what is the total sediment budget, what are some of the dredging intervals and how do we best use that sediment in the most beneficial manner to not only mitigate erosion but develop habitat over a long term. When you’re looking at forces that have always been there in the watershed but also, we are considering sea level rise with everything we do along the shorelines now.”

Studying how the U.S. 98 bridge affects the flow of sediment at the north end of the project area will likely be included.

“We’ll have a report for the sediment management study, we’ll have a report for the hydrological study, we’ll have a report for the natural resource inventory,” West said. “We’re probably looking at the 98 bridge or the Lillian bridge. You do have the bridge there that would have some influences and to some point north of the bridge. I’m not sure what the engineers would tell us is sufficient to capture the 98 bridge’s influence on this hydrological element.”

During the regular session, the council:

  • Approved a special events liquor license for Gilbey’s for the Swanky Gala fundraiser for Youth Reach-Gulf Coast at The Wharf on June 8 and another license for Event Concessions for its Muscadine Bloodline event on July 6, also at The Wharf.
  • Passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of a dozer for the Refuse Department in the amount of $150,981.38. 
  • Passed a resolution to purchase of real property from God is Bidden Properties and authorizing the Mayor to negotiate and execute the purchase.
  • Heard the first reading of an ordinance approving annexation of the Birkenhauer property into the city.

During the work session, the council discussed:

  • A resolution to give $90,000 to the Makos Academics, Arts & Athletics Club.
  • A resolution for an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for the installation, operation, and maintenance of a State Highway 182 pedestrian crossing traffic control signal located at Middle Gate Road. The council also discussed a resolution for control of traffic signals along the same road.
  • A resolution authorizing a software license agreement with Orgamation Technologies for iCare childcare management software.
  • A resolution executing a memorandum of understanding with the Baldwin County Board of Education for the Orange Beach Middle/High School student athlete program.
  • An ordinance establishing a speed zone with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour on the portion of State Route 182 for the last quarter mile or so of road before the Florida line.
  • Setting a public hearing date for Summer Salt final planned unit development with the suggested date of July 2.
  • A reminder of a public hearing and first reading for an ordinance for the PUD of Caribe East West on June 18.