Researchers say Bayou Auguste an overlooked natural resource

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A non-profit organization dedicated to recovery in East Biloxi is looking for ways to reduce flood damage in the area's low lying sections. Researchers say what they found in their study is that for too long East Biloxians have overlooked a very valuable natural defense, which is Bayou Auguste.

As researchers with the Gulf Coast Community design studio canoed the bayous of East Biloxi, they say Bayou Auguste stood out as an important natural resource.

"Everyone knows that lives in East Biloxi when we have a big storm there are places that flood," said Director David Perks. "Partly because of how the bayou has been impacted over the years, by the way it's been cut off by roads and put into culverts in different places."

Researchers say culverts that are too narrow impede Bayou Auguste's natural flow and keep it from holding as much water as it would normally.

"The water just doesn't seem to be quite clean and natural. That's because it doesn't flow like it ought to," Perks said. "It's constrained as it comes through culverts or it's been put into channels.  Part of what we've been looking at is how do you begin get it to operate more as it should, as a natural system that begins to clean itself just by the way it naturally does. "

Drainage is just part of the study. Researchers believe a better looking Bayou Auguste would give neighbors a better appreciation for it.

Perks said, "Instead of having it kind of be overgrown backyards to begin to define it in such a way that there is this kind of edge. Kind of a walking trail that you walk along it. But also something we know that it's healthy and attractive and it has ospreys and herons in it."

Some sections of the bayou are publicly owned. Others have private, individual owners.

"Getting all the people who have some kind of ownership on it is a challenge, and I think that's kind of where the next step is," Perks said.

The director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio said the group is working with the city of Biloxi and Mississippi Land Trust to improve Bayou Auguste.

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