The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) has released The Flight of the Frigate Bird– An Omen of Rising Seas. Narrated by Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter Shelby Lynne, the film features interviews with area residents, public officials, and scientists about the history of the island, its current challenges, and its future.  

Since the film’s completion, it has been screened two times on Dauphin Island, once in Mobile, and debuted on Alabama Public Television on November 4, 2018. It was also an official selection in Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival, competing in the Environmental Documentary Shorts Category. 

Dauphin Island attracts visitors from across the country to experience the laid-back atmosphere, world-class birding, miles of open white beaches, and stunning sunsets. As large storms and rising seas threaten the future of the Island, The Flight of The Frigate Bird tells the stories of generations of Islanders who have adapted to the ever-changing landscape of barrier island life. Based on their experience, they knew to preserve the dunes, forests, and marshes because of the protection they provided from hurricanes and storm surge. They also avoided building directly on the beach because of how vulnerable those areas were to storms and erosion.
As development boomed after a bridge was built in the 1950s, many of the tenants of the islanders were ignored.  Now the community is faced with daunting decisions about how to best adapt to an eroding shoreline, rising seas, and larger storms while protecting the whole tourism industry and the tax base it provides. 

Founded in 1995, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is a non-regulatory program tasked with promoting the wise stewardship of the water quality characteristics and living resource base of the Mobile Bay estuarine system by bringing together citizens; local, state, and federal government agencies; businesses and industries; conservation and environmental organizations; and academic institutions to meet the environmental challenges that face the unique and imperiled resources that characterize our coastal estuaries. The Alabama Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium (The Dauphin Island Sea Lab) is the administrative sponsor for the MBNEP. 

View the film at