Alabama Power: Environmental Restoration: Oyster Reefs at Helen Wood Park

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Alabama Power partnered with The Nature Conservancy to restore the Helen Wood Reef and Breakfront at Helen Wood Park on Dauphin Island Parkway. Alabama Power Foundation provided a grant to The Nature Conservancy to cover the funding of the project and Alabama Power Service Organization volunteers stepped forward to provide the physical labor required to rebuild and restore the reef. 

Over ninety Alabama Power volunteers joined forces with The Nature Conservancy staff and volunteers to restore seven oyster reefs at Helen Wood Park, logging more than 260 volunteer hours. The team utilized an innovative new technology, constructing the reefs from a series of interlocking concrete blocks called Oyster Castles®. Volunteers moved 1,200 blocks each weighing 35 pounds to build the reefs.

Despite the hard work, volunteers are asking when we can do it again.” said Erin Delaporte, division customer service manager and president of the Mobile APSO chapter. “We are local and have a passion for the coastline. We do this because we want to enhance lives in the community. 

The project also enhances habitat for oysters, crabs, and other marine life along the reef, while providing erosion control along the shoreline, the primary goals of the project. 

The Nature Conservancy is monitoring progress at the reefs. “A December survey found all structures still intact and an increase in marine life around the area,” reports Delaporte. “Sediment build up indicates erosion control is working.

All our volunteers enjoyed working with The Nature Conservancy,” adds Beth Thomas, external affairs manager at Alabama Power. “It was a great opportunity to work with their organization and learn more about the reef, the coastal environment, and the bay. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with them to improve coastal Alabama.”

PEP extends special recognition to The Nature Conservancy for their leadership of this project.