Dog River Derelict Vessel Program
DRCR has been trying to address the problem of derelict boats in the Dog River watershed for years. The problem is compounded when boats are left anchored in the river during storms. Not only is this illegal, but the boats often lose their mooring and wind up wrecked on private property and in people’s homes. A NOAA grant secured by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) is supporting early steps to address some of these issues.
The project involves Research. Dauphin Island Sea Lab graduate student Caitlin Wessel is studying just what these old boats actually do to the environment.
The project involves Removal. DRCR volunteers had already identified a plethora of old boats and pieces parts that needed removing. DISL has contracted to have 24 of these removed by the end of May 2014.
The project involves Outreach. DRCR, DISL, the Ocean Conservancy and other partners are working to conduct a roadside cleanup, develop and place signage, and get the word out about the issue of derelict boats.
The project involves Restoration. Two locations within the watershed are being replanted with native vegetation. The other 22 locations will be monitored to see how the habitat recovers once the old boats are gone.
Did You Know?
According to Alabama State regulation, it is illegal to anchor a boat for an extended period of time unless you own the neighboring land. Violation of this regulation is a Class C misdemeanor. To report illegal anchoring of an unmanned boat, call Alabama State Lands Division at 334-242-3484.
Why don’t you sink those old boats for a reef or something?
The boats and parts are too light. They move with current and shift during storms. As they break apart, they add to the debris in the Gulf, bay, or rivers. Some of the materials they are made from are not good for water quality.
Why don’t you use some of those old boats for bulkheads?
While it is a common practice, bulkheads harm the environment. They can increase erosion and cause habitat damage. Boats are not made of the proper durable materials for shoreline stabilization. They may also contain materials that are not good for the environment.
The project is funded in part by the NOAA Marine Debris program and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.