Alabama Beach Mouse and how it affects home building permits

Guidance on Beach Mouse

Beach Mouse Checklist

Mr. Bill Lynne with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is happy to answer any questions regarding the Beach Mouse Permit. He may be reached at (2511) 441-5868

In June of 1986, the Alabama beach mouse was listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Just one of two species of field mice that inhabit the sand dunes along the southern coast of Alabama, the ABM serves a crucial role in its ecosystem. It is a food source for many animals, and its seed collecting and burrowing helps promote the growth of vegetation, acting as a natural barrier that protects the dunes from the ravages of coastline erosion. The USFWS saw the ABM’s unique importance and took action to protect it, but for many people in the district, that action came with a price.

Gulf Coast property owners desiring to build a home should be aware that if they are looking to construct a project in an area inhabited by the Alabama Beach Mouse, they will need to meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in order to receive a building permit. This species is found in parts of Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and the Fort Morgan Peninsula and Perdido Key and is a protected species under the ESA. To avoid or minimize impacts to this species, all projects proposed in their known territories must satisfy the Service and ESA requirements to issue a building permit.

If the Alabama Beach Mouse (ABM) habitat your property and you want to build, you should apply for an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The permit will include steps to ensure your project is compliant with the ESA, as well as provide protections from legal and financial liability in the event an endangered ABM is harmed by your project.

Helpful Resources

Beach Mouse and Building Permits



Alabama Beach Mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates). Adult Alabama beach mice are brown above, sometimes with darker stripe down back; white below. Tail short, dark on top. Juvenile and subabult Alabama beach mice may be gray above; white below but transition to brown when approaching adult status.

Alabama Beach Mouse Orange Beach Gulf Shores

Since the ABM was listed, government agencies in the district have invested millions of dollars in its protection. Though the population of the ABM has rebounded significantly, its endangered status remains unchanged. This creates all kinds of issues for homeowners and developers who want to build and develop property in the area, as they are limited in where and how they can build.

These mandated restrictions have become a major obstacle for those trying to find affordable housing in the district. The burden of this regulation also falls disproportionately on those with economic struggles. Buyers and sellers of real estate affected by these regulations find themselves caught in a complicated web of regulations, and their wallets often feel it.

Beach Mouse Alabama Orange Beach Gulf Shores

Posted by Meredith Amon on


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