Volunteers Help To Restore Historic Island - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/09/05

Volunteers Help To Restore Historic Island

Over the past 150 years, Deer Island has lost more than 300 acres because of erosion.

On Saturday, some volunteers took matters into their own hands, venturing out to the island to help out with a restoration project.

While a few people spent the day taking in the view of Deer Island, some 100 volunteers were working hard to help restore it.

"They're telling us to plant these little plants and hopefully what we're doing will help the island in the long run," said volunteer Steven Mixon. Mixon recently returned home from a deployment to Iraq. The airman feels it's his civic duty to take care of matters on both foreign and domestic soil. "I feel like eventually, what I'm doing right now, somebody's going to help me out in the future, so why not give back to the community that gave me so much?" Mixon asked.

Karen and Cary Crosby traveled all the way from Wiggins to lend a hand with the project, joining others in their endeavor to plant salt marsh hay, needle rush and oyster grass plants.

"It helps keep the barrier islands. It's very important in storms, and I think that it's good for fishermen, it's good for recreation. It just has multi-purposes," Karen Crosby said.

DMR leaders also say this project is embedding a long-lasting lesson about the environment and the imporance of preserving it.

"Learning to identify the different types of plants that you see in a tidal marsh for one thing, and then understanding what kind of soil they grow in," said Jeff Clark of the Department of Marine Resources.

By the day's end, 40,000 clumps of plants were embedded in the historic island, just another step in making sure the island will be in good shape for generations to come.

This Deer Island Marsh Restoration Project is funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District, the city of Biloxi, and the Department of Marine Resources.

It's an estimated $1-million dollar project.

By: Toni Miles

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