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Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program

Dauphin Island Climate Resilience Study


Like all barrier islands, Dauphin Island is ever changing, constantly battered by waves and storms. The forces of erosion, flooding, and storm surge have significantly altered Dauphin Island over the years. In 2012, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program (MASGLP) partnered with the Town of Dauphin Island and the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board to undertake a multi-year climate resilience study for Dauphin Island. The project aimed to improve the capacity of Dauphin Island to adapt to changes in climate. To reach these objectives, the project was structured in two phases: an information gathering stage that aimed to assess the island’s vulnerabilities and risks and an analysis stage to develop recommended policy responses for the identified vulnerabilities and risks.

In the first phase of the project, the MASGLP began with background research on the climate-related threats facing Dauphin Island. The MASGLP next hosted a Vulnerability-Consequence Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) workshop to gather information on the climate issues concerning the Town and its residents. The MASGLP then drafted a scoping document, entitled Climate Impacts for the Southeastern U.S. and Dauphin Island, AL and released in May 2013, which discusses the current effects and future impacts of climate change on the island. The MASGLP also drafted a journal article that summarized the VCAPS process, examined the climate impacts facing the island, and provided potential next steps for the Town.

Climate Impacts for the Southeastern U.S. and Dauphin Island, AL, Catherine Janasie, Ocean & Coastal Law Fellow (May 2013).

Climate Resiliency on Dauphin Island, Alabama, Catherine Janasie, Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal (Apr. 2014).


During the second phase, the MASGLP analyzed the various types of planning actions that the Town could take to increase the island’s climate resilience, and whether these options are feasible on Dauphin Island. The MASGLP completed this analysis by reviewing Dauphin Island’s current ordinances, as well as the various state and federal laws that will affect its land use decisions. The resulting report, entitled Climate Resilience on Dauphin Island Through Land Use Planning, provides an overview and history of barrier island development and discusses local land use authorities available to the Town to address emerging climate stressors.

Increasing Climate Resilience on Dauphin Island Through Land Use Planning,
Catherine M. Janasie, Research Counsel and Stephen Deal, Extension Specialist in Land Use Planning (June 2015).


Workshops

Vulnerability-Consequence Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) Workshop, Dauphin Island, AL (Dec. 5, 2012)

Workshop on Invasive Species and Habitat Restoration, Hosted by Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board, Dauphin Island, AL (Jan. 21, 2015)


Presentations

C. Janasie, Climate Resiliency on Dauphin Island, AL, Alabama-Mississippi Bays & Bayous Symposium, Biloxi, MS (Nov. 14, 2012)

C. Janasie, Climate Resiliency Study for Dauphin Island, Alabama, National Sea Grant Climate Network Conference, Santa Monica, CA (Mar. 13, 2013)

C. Janasie, Climate Resiliency on Dauphin Island, Bays & Bayous Symposium, Mobile, AL (Dec. 2, 2014)

C. Janasie and S. Deal, Dauphin Island Climate Resilience Study Update, Dauphin Island Planning Commission Meeting, Dauphin Island, AL (June 9, 2015)

Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program