Conservation Department to Purchase Dauphin Island Wetland

Conservation Commissioner Riley Boykin Smith today announced purchase of approximately 20 acres of salt marsh wetlands on Dauphin Island. The land, known to locals as the Billy Goat Hole wetlands, is adjacent to the Dauphin Island ferry landing.

“This property serves as productive habitat for marine and estuarine species,” said Commissioner Smith. “After the purchase is completed, we will enter into a long-term lease agreement with the town of Dauphin Island. They will be able to install improvements such as additional parking, a fishing pier, concession stand and other amenities for the public.”

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier is pleased with the opportunity the land acquisition presents. “This is a wonderful partnership between the Department of Conservation and the Town of Dauphin Island,” he said. “I really appreciate all the effort that Commissioner Smith and Governor Siegelman have put into this project.”

The wetland habitat is composed primarily of smooth cord grass and black needlerush. The area is important nursery habitat for shrimp, crabs and important fin fish such as speckled trout and redfish.

Funding for the purchase of the property is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP).