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Pelican Point Shoreline Protection and Habitat Restoration Project

Led by The Nature Conservancy, the Pelican Point project created of two 56' oyster reefs at Pelican Point, north of the mouth of Weeks Bay on Mobile Bay to protect the shoreline and restore aquatic habitat.

Background Information

Volunteers Constructing ReefEstuaries are very unique systems. The interaction between freshwater and saltwater provides habitat for species that are very important to both the health of the rivers above and oceans below, as well as for the livelihoods of the humans that depend on them. Coastal erosion threatens these species. Mobile Bay has experienced significant loss of oyster reefs, seagrass beds and coastal marsh habitats, as well as substantial shoreline erosion, from dredge/fill activities, construction of seawalls and jetties, ship wakes, storm events and other causes. Oyster shell was dredged specifically for road construction. To address these issues, the State of Alabama led by The Nature Conservancy and their partners have launched an effort to build 100 miles of oyster reefs which will help protect and promote the growth of more than 1,000 acres of coastal marsh and seagrass. This project will create benefits 3 primary estuarine habitats: oyster reefs, coastal marshes and seagrass beds. The combination of these habitats benefit environmental, economic and social aspects of the community through outright habitat restoration, recreationalfishing opportunities, and constituency building with volunteerism.


Reef construction is complete. Monitoring and reporting is ongoing until October of 2014.

Project Planning and Design

Project Site Design
Pelican Point
The project design for Pelican Point was developed using depth contours, prevailing winds, and wave energy and fetch estimates to define breakwater dimensions that drop the average wave height to less than 1 foot between the breakwaters and the shore. The reefs were constructed using oyster castles, pre-fabricated interlocking concrete blocks that can be deployed by volunteers. The project design consisted of a total of four reefs (~20 ft. width X ~56 ft. length) (Figures 2, 3), creating 224 feet of reef, and protecting 329 feet of shoreline and 0.75 acres of intertidal habitat.

Pelican Point

Oyster Castle Profile View
Pelican Point

Reef Construction

Volunteer ConstructionOn April 5th, the 100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama partnership held the Pelican Point volunteer reef building event. The event was expertly organized with seamless coordination among the partners, while also providing ample fun for the 565 volunteers that participated. Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi contributed 165 airmen and women to the restoration effort (Figures 4, 5, 6). 

 Volunteer construction at a distanceApproximately half the project was completed on April 5th.  A second volunteer reef building event was held on May 4th. The 100-1000 team reassembled volunteers and finished construction of the 4 breakwater reefs. A total of 357 volunteers (246 of those were from Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi) participated in the 2nd event.

Project Monitoring

The completed reefs are now 2 months old. Formal monitoring has since begun in conjunction with Dauphin Sea Lab. However, since the completion of construction, beach widening and sand accumulating between the reef and shore, and the team looks forward to collecting and reviewing the monitoring data for changes.

Mobile Bay, Alabama
Climate Change Impacts, Urbanization and Infrastructure, Water Quality
Rivers and Streams, Wetlands
Conservation Delivery, Outcome-based Monitoring
Aquatic Resources
Aquatic Macrofauna, Birds, Fish

Associated Locations

Town zip code county state congressional dist


Name of barrier Latitude Longitude FONS ID FIS Project ID FWS Acc. #

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