Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Conserving the Nature of America

Grand Bay NWR Habitat

The refuge is part of the Southeast Conifer Forest ecoregion, which is a swath covering the coastal areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico from eastern Louisiana to coastal Georgia. In coastal Mississippi, some of the distinct terrestrial communities are: pitcher plant bogs, longleaf pine savannas and bayhead swamps - all of which are found on the refuge. The ecoregions present here are critical because of the variety of habitats they provide to many migratory bird species.

Within the plane of the refuge, Grand Bay includes the Southern Pine Hills predominantly north of Interstate 10; the Gulf Coast Flatwoods just south of Interstate 10; and the marsh regions in the southern part of Jackson County.


The map seen to the right is the National Wetlands Inventory Map. It illustrates the vegetation communities at the refuge and in the surrounding lands.

 

In the northernmost swamps, isolated pockets of freshwater marsh dominate the landscape. Further south, brackish marshes exist where tidal influence is constant. Saline marsh along the coast supports many species of open water ducks and other wildlife.

 

The gradient effect from the flatwoods to the marsh creates bottomland hardwood swamps that provide feeding and resting habitat for a variety of waterfowl, including mallards, green-winged teal and blue-winged teal.

  Habitat Map
 
Pine Line

Flatwoods are characterized by various species of pine, including slash and longleaf. Commonly encountered hardwoods and shrubs here are water oaks, live oaks, magnolia and bay trees. The flatwoods are important habitat for neotropical birds and wood ducks.

Savanna Grasses

Pine savannas are open, nearly treeless fire-dependent plant communities. The ground level habitat is highly species-rich with an estimated 30+ species in a square meter.


Contrast  

Wet pine savannas are one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America. Only 3-5% of the original area remains.

Wet pine savanna is generally found on hydric soils. The wet soils are poorly drained and spend days or weeks saturated with water.

Plants growing in the hydric soil have different adaptations to survive the low oxygen and nutrient lacking soil. Grand Bay NWR has several species of carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants, sundews and butterworts that get many nutrients from insects and other invertebrates that find their way into these deadly traps.

Sundews
Dwarf Sundew Drosera brevifola
Threadleaf Sundew Drosera tracyi
Spoonleaf Sundew Drosera intermedia
   
Butterworts
Swamp Butterwort Pinguicula planifolia
Yellow Butterwort Pinguicula lutea
   
Pitcher Plants
Yellow Trumpets Sarracenia alata
Whitetop Pitcherplant Sarracenia leucophylla
Parrot's Beak Sarracenia psittacina
Sidesaddle Pitcherplant Sarracenia purpurea