This morning was such pleasant weather, I decided to go out for a fun flight. My idea was to do a little site seeing and introduce my son-in-law to my airplane. We headed out over the Biloxi peninsula at 800 feet and then then decided to go south over the Gulf of Mexico, about 25 miles until we reached Chandeleur Island, an uninhabited barrier island chain that runs North/South about 50 miles long.
In addition to being considered a fisherman's paradise, the Chandeleurs are part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. It is an important migrating point for many birds on their way south, so it has special flight rules. We can fly low around the islands, but when flying over the actual landmass, you must stay at an altitude of 2000 feet above land (AGL) to prevent disturbing nesting birds along this migratory path.
I've seen these islands grow and shrink over the years, so it's always interesting to fly out there and take a look and note the changes since my last flight. When I first started doing aerial photography in 1999, these islands were much wider, and the tip was probably at least a mile or two further to the North. After Katrina, the islands were probably reduced to one-half of the width you even see today, and at that point, there was virtually no dry landmass: It was reduced to almost 100% wetlands. Then, about 3-4 years ago, the Federal Government invested significant monies to island restoration. I have photos of trucks and tractors on the island working to restore critical beachheads. (It must have been interesting getting all that gear out there!)
This work possibly explains why the islands still exist at all.
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