Bret M. Webb, Ph.D., P.E., D.CE
University of South Alabama
150 Jaguar Drive, SH3142
Mobile, AL 36688 USA
Phone: (251) 460-6174
Fax: (251) 461-1400

Research Positions

Currently seeking an MSCE student to perform research on groundwater impacts to coastal lagoons. A research assistantship is available. Contact me for more details.

Current Research Assistants

SE Students
Garland Pennison


MSCE Students
Patrick Hautau
Marshall Hayden
Jackie Wittmann


Undergraduate Students
Derek Kelly

Former Students

MSCE Students
Kate Haynes (2018)
Justin Lowlavar (2017)
Bryan Groza (2016)
Kari Servold (2015)
Chris Marr (2013)
Richard Allen (2013)
Miyuki Matthews (2012)


Post Docs
Jon Risinger
Jungwoo Lee

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Drs. Scott Douglass and Bret Webb recently submitted a proposal to the Alabama Department of Transportation’s (ALDOT) Research Advisory Committee (RAC) aimed at monitoring the impacts of Little Lagoon Pass on the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Dr. Webb made a presentation to the RAC on July 2, 2012 (click on image at right for a QuickTime slideshow). Shortly after the presentation, the RAC approved the project for funding.


ALDOT is proposing a new bridge over Little Lagoon Pass for AL-182, along with widening of the inlet channel and lengthening of the jetties. The proposal describes a two-year monitoring plan using the {Jag Ski} and traditional land-based RTK GPS survey equipment to document changes in beach sand volumes on the east and west sides of the pass, as well as the volumes of the ebb and flood tidal shoals, as a result of the proposed modifications. In addition to the beach profile data, hydrodynamic modeling of the pass will be performed using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ new Coastal Modeling System, and comprehensive water quality maps of the lagoon surface water will be developed from data collected using the Portable SeaKeeper system.


There is a very interesting history behind this pass, much of it documented in a number of court rulings during the 1990s. The existing AL-182 bridge was constructed in 1969, but the pass was not stabilized until the early 1980s. A group of homeowners along West Beach Boulevard (west/downdrift of the pass) sued what was then called the Alabama Highway Department in 1991 over an illegal “taking” of private lands and improper condemnation of private property. The State filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied, and a motion for change of venue, which was similarly denied. Another suit was filed in 1993 and heard by the Alabama Supreme Court. Most of the legal battles ended around this time with an out of court settlement and a consent decree issued by the Court. The terms and requirements of the settlements have dictated the maintenance and operation of the pass since that time. Even though the natural beach system has changed greatly due to a tremendous influx of sand during the Gulf Shores beach nourishment project in the early 2000s, the terms of the consent decree have not. Here are some links to just a few of the news articles that ran in print media during the 1990s… makes for interesting reading.


Stay tuned for more details on this project using the tag “Little Lagoon” on this web site.



One Response to USA CE Faculty and Students to Monitor Little Lagoon Pass

  • My compliments on proposed study, hope it goes well. My understanding of the legal situation at the pass back in the early 1990’s is District court ruling on ALDOT requirement to maintain the pass was appealed to State Supreme Court and they ruled against ALDOT/the appeal and issued court order for them to maintain the pass. The order still stands. Beach renourishment/extending the beach seaward of pass entrance did cause additional cost/headaches for ALDOT dredging.

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