BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Bayou Auguste lies behind Nichols Elementary School, and stretches all the way to Back Bay. However, looking at it today, you would probably think it's nothing more than a drainage ditch.
That's why the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is enlisting the surrounding neighborhoods to help restore the wetlands.
"For years, I think it's kind of been neglected and over time, more and more land has been filled in around it and it has taken up the marsh that was once there," said Britton Jones of the GCCDS.
Bayou Auguste is an area shared by Biloxi residents and native wildlife, but many residents don't realize the importance of this unassuming waterway. It provides a natural drainage system for water, as well as a habitat to a sensitive ecosystem.
"It's the spawning grounds for many of the fish and shrimp and those things we like to eat and recreate around," said Jones.
Those reasons have pushed the GCCDS, along with the Biloxi Housing Authority and local schools, to restore and cleanup the bayou. The coalition has two grants which will be used to revive and restore the marshes of the bayou.
"It's really to enhance, not only the beauty for the east Biloxi neighborhood, but it's to really create the habitat for the plants and animals around there and it will really help with the spawning grounds for all the animals we need in our ecosystem," said Jones.
Because the Bayou is surrounded by residential communities, the team also wants to know what residents think.
In a meeting Thursday evening, the coalition heard that the community wants to be a part of the Bayou as well, saying they liked the idea of adding walking trails and other public amenities. With these ideas on the table, the next step is to try to make it happen.
"Without the community, how good is a project really?" said Jones.