Alabama Coasting 2019 - Page 17

TUPELO GUM SWAMP This 11-acre swath of wetlands is hidden between several dead-end roads south of Bienville Boulevard. This swamp is located just inland of the main dune line on the island’s south side and is bisected by a 10-foot-wide public access right of way. This area has been targeted for conservation because of its unique vegetation. GORGAS SWAMP East of Tupelo Gum Swamp is Gorgas Swamp, also populated with Tupelo Gum trees. At present this area is being destroyed by excessive all-terrain vehicular traffic, which compacts the soil, generating ruts and gullies that serve to drain the water off the surface, and interrupting the hydrologic cycle. Unless this swamp is purchased and use of its grounds restricted, 10 acres of rich wetland habitat will be lost. Yellow-throated Warbler. THE STEINER PROPERTY This parcel was left largely untouched because the Steiner family chose not to develop it during the island’s boom of the 1950s. The property is an entire 12-acre area of critical hab- itat, stretching from Bienville Boulevard to the south shore of Dauphin Island Bay. A splendid salt marsh, populated with black needle rush, provides good habitat for wading birds and waterfowl, while the upland habitat is particularly attractive lo migrating birds. Only two lots in this entire block have been developed. Above: Prothonotary Warbler. Great Blue Heron. Special thanks to Kathy Hicks for the stunning pho- tography that accompanies this article. In addition to being an outstanding photographer, Kathy is a nature guide and educator at Five Rivers Delta Resource Cen- ter in Spanish Fort, as well as being an accomplished free-lance graphic designer. See more of her work at www.neonflamingos.com and contact her at kathy@neonflamingos.com. ALABAMA COASTING’S DAUPHIN ISLAND LIFE 2019 17