Gulf Foundation seeking project proposals

Volunteers logged more than 2,000 hours restoring Bayou Auguste, which flows into Biloxi's back bay.
Volunteers logged more than 2,000 hours restoring Bayou Auguste, which flows into Biloxi's back bay.

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A group called the Gulf of Mexico Foundation is looking for some good ideas to restore wetlands and waterways. That organization has already awarded millions of dollars in grant money to fund such environmental work.

The foundation is looking for proposals that spark community involvement. It could be cleaning-up a marsh or replenishing an oyster bed.

Several South Mississippi projects have received funding in recent years. The restoration of Bayou Auguste in East Biloxi has gotten rave reviews from the community and significant attention.

It's the project EPA Director Lisa Jackson chose to visit last year while she was here for a meeting about oil spill recovery.

"We will be removing all the sort of concrete rubble from along the shore line," said landscape architect Britton Jones, as he talked about the next portion of the project.

The next phase of the bayou restoration, funded by the foundation, will focus on the waterway between Lee Street and Bayview Avenue.

Concrete rubble from Hurricane Camille still litters the shore and impedes water flow. Once that's removed, the shoreline can be restored.

"Re-grading a new stream bank and stabilizing it with some matting. And then planting marsh grasses and trees and flowers to really improve the habitat along the bayou," Jones explained.

Around $25,000 in foundation grant money paid for some significant restoration work on East Deer Island. Oyster shells were used to create a more stable shoreline.

"We put out 700 cubic yards of oyster shell that was used to help with shoreline erosion and create a living shoreline. We moved the shells in chicken wire bags to the site and stockpiled them along the site to build like a barrier or berm. And that helped reduce erosion," said Marty Jones, with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

That first phase of work on Bayou Auguste involved not only those who designed the project, it also engaged the community.

"Allowed us to work with the school kids to really teach bayou ecology and merging those sciences with the arts. And really after construction started, we really started seeing more involvement from the community and their interest in the project," said Britton Jones.

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