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Mississippi Coastal

The Mississippi Coast Focus Area contains Mississippi Sound and adjacent coastal habitats and barrier islands as well as portions of Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Lamar, Pearl River, and Stone counties in Mississippi and Mobile County in Alabama. There are 1,561,405 acres in this focus area. Coastal rivers that feed this area include Jourdan, Wolf, Biloxi, Tchoutacabouffa, Bayou La Batre, and Fowl Rivers. Habitat restoration in this focus area could promote ringed map turtles, yellow blotched map turtles, gopher tortoises, black pine snakes, eastern indigo snakes, red-cockaded woodpeckers, Mississippi gopher frogs, Alabama red bellied turtles, manatees, migratory birds (shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, neotropical migratory songbirds, etc.), Mississippi sandhill cranes, sea turtles, saltmarsh topminnows, and Gulf sturgeon.

Mississippi Coastal Projects

photo by Scott Hereford, USFWS

Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge

November 6, 2015

A cohort of six captive-bred cranes transferred to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge from White Oak Conservation Center. Our Coastal Program helped pay for the restoration of more than 800 acres in this area, and the materials to build the pen.

Mississippi Coastal Preserves Habitat Restoration (Native Species Plantings on Beneficial Use Sites)

Deer Island Marsh Restoration Project With Newly
Planted Spartina patens and Spartina alterniflora

July 31, 2013

DIMR1 had previously been planted prior to Hurricane Katrina; however, most (80-90%) of the plants had been lost during the storm that put nearly 20 feet of water over the island. Some additional planting occurred after Katrina on the areas that still had the proper elevation for marsh grasses, but much of the area was below the target elevation until the summer of 2012. DIMR2 had never been planted as this site was only built a few months ago, in the summer of 2012.

In April 2013, using funds provided by the USFWS Coastal Program, MDMR contracted with Landscape Workshop LLC of Foley, AL to plant 59,259 plugs of Spartina alterniflora and 29,629 plugs of Spartina patens on the two BU sites. Planting activities began in late May and ended in late June. One month post-planting (late July), the sites were given a cursory assessment. Based on this assessment, about 85-90% of the plants appear to have survived this first month or two after planting. Many plants that were looking stressed within the first two weeks after planting

Aerial Close Up of the BU Rrestorations Sites.

have rebounded and are now showing significant greening. Survivorship could potentially increase if weather conditions remain favorable, i.e., plants that appear top-killed may still have viable roots that will re-sprout.

Establishing native vegetation on BU restoration sites is critical to maintaining the stability and longevity of the restoration sites. The development of the above and below ground biomass of the marsh grasses, not only aid stability, but also help increase the productivity of the sites. Studies on BU sites in Texas indicate that tidal marshes created from dredged material can be as much as 10-120 times more productive than the open water habitat that it replaces.

More MS-BU restoration projects will be occurring in the near future on the Mississippi Coast. Planting and managing these sites will require long term commitments to achieve maximum benefits. MDMR is committed to restoring tidal marsh habitat through the utilization of dredged material and to sustaining these projects into the future. Funding support from programs like the USFWS Coastal Program will be vital to ensuring that these projects provide a net benefit to both the environment and to the public.

Mississippi Coastal Preserves Habitat Restoration (Invasive Species Control)

June 30, 2011

Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) populations in southern Mississippi have been increasing dramatically over the past several decades, particularly in areas suffering disturbance, e.g., from silvicultural activities, residential development, road construction and maintenance. Hurricane Katrina was a regionwide event that resulted in large-scale areas of disturbance. In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, many coastal forests were almost entirely devoid of mature, live, native trees. These areas, which prior to the hurricane were somewhat resistant to invasion, have quickly become densely infested with Chinese tallow. If left untreated, Chinese tallow will likely overwhelm most Coastal Preserves areas in southern Mississippi and form dense mono-specific stands that reduce available habitat for native plants and animals as well as diminish land values. The Mississippi Coastal Preserves Program is dedicated to fighting back this invasion. The program is currently using a combination of control methods including herbicides, mechanical removal, and prescribed burning.

AmeriCorps clearing trails for Marine Education Center

By Steve Phillips

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - AmeriCorps workers are wrapping-up a trail making project in Ocean Springs. They've spent the past several weeks removing Katrina debris from the University of Southern Mississippi owned Cedar Point property. The AmeriCorps team helped create a series of trails in the woods adjacent to the Gulf Coast Research Lab's Cedar Point facilities.

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Last updated: May 5, 2021