Coastal Alabama Partnership staff joined community leaders and other organizations under a brilliantly sunny sky on April 22nd to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the Lightning Point Restoration Project, hosted by The Nature Conservancy.
The Lightning Point Restoration Project has revitalized an important waterfront area for the city of Bayou La Batre by restoring and protecting shoreline habitats and improving community access for recreation and fishing. The project yields over a mile of breakwaters, including two jetties, 42 acres of coastal marsh and tidal creeks, a fishing platform, and a community pavilion. An even more impressive aspect of this project is the beneficial use of over 365,452 cubic yards of dredge material and that over 80,000 native species were planted to create a resilient shoreline that has already weathered through several storms in 2020.
The project at Lightning Point is the joint effort of the City of Bayou La Batre, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Mobile County, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Moffat & Nichol, Alabama Power, RAE-Citgo, Partners for Environmental Progress, and The Nature Conservancy.
Several special guests were in attendance to give their remarks on the great achievements of this project, including Governor Kay Ivey and Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. U.S. Congressman Jerry Carl, Mayor Henry Barnes, state representatives Margie Wilcox and Chip Brown, and state senator David Sessions were also present. In her remarks, Governor Kay Ivey said, “Alabama is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. Back in 2019, I was proud to allocate $250,000 in GOMESA funds and participate in a groundbreaking for this remarkable project, and now, three years later, I’m so excited to see that it has come to fruition.”
What’s next for this area of Bayou La Batre? Mayor Henry Barnes commented they are, “launching the City Docks project right next door to continue improvements and amenities along the Bayou la Batre waterfront.” In addition to the Lightning Point District, a master plan reveals a market and marina District are next to be constructed by Moffat & Nichol. Direct seafood sales will take place in the market district, providing the public with a true “boat to table” seafood experience and a real economic driver for this community. The marina district will include short-term and long-term access to barrier islands and fishing adventures for the boating community. An elevated multi-purpose building will include public restrooms and conditioned and shaded space for vendors to sell bait, deli foods, drinks, etc.
The staff at Coastal Alabama Partnership cannot think of a better way to spend Earth Day!