Little Lagoon Pass is a popular spot in Gulf Shores where families come to relax and anglers try their luck. It’s a special place for Stephen Kichler. “This is my life. My family has been here since the 1800s.”
Just over a year after a new design of the pass, an old problem. “The dredge is here. The excavators are here. The bulldozers are here. The off-road dump trucks are here and they’re never not here,” says Kichler.
ALDOT crews arrived Monday morning digging out all the sand clogging the mouth of the pass.
Two weeks ago crews were finishing up the latest dredging operation.
“It would be one thing if it happened once a year and it was good for a long period of time but it is continual and it is a tremendous use of dollars.” Joe Buskens is an in-shore fishing guide. He says the lagoon is an incubator for marine life and the lack of water flowing in from the gulf is already having and impact. “It’s like a nursery at the hospital with the door being closed. It doesn’t do any good if the babies can’t get in there.”
Kichler believes the answer is jetties. “If you look at all passes around there is jetties that protrude into the gulf and that’s the only way it’s going to keep the sand from filling it in.”
A long-term solution, though, is still being researched according to Public Works Director Mark Acreman. “It is really going to rely on the coastal engineer to determine what that would be but hopefully with the state and their ongoing monitoring we’ll have enough data they can propose an improved solution.”
For now, giant excavators and dump trucks will again dig out the pass. A job that seems as never-ending as the waves in the gulf.
The current project is expected to take two weeks to complete.