Researchers Impressed With Progress Of Deer Island Restoration - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/17/05

Researchers Impressed With Progress Of Deer Island Restoration

Like so many grade schoolers, coastal resource managers are on a field trip of discovery.

Meeting in New Orleans for their bi-annual world conference, this group is taking time out to explore Deer Island, and in particular, The Department of Marine Resources effort to save it.

"It has suffered greatly from erosion," DMR's Coastal Reserves Program Director Jeff Clark tell the crowd. "In fact at one time the island extended about a mile further east."

It's at that eastern edge where says Clark, where work is being done to reverse the islands slow disappearance.

"We've lost 40 to 50 percent of the Island in the last couple hundred years," says Clark.

Elisabeth Morgan of Silver Springs Maryland, a Specialist with the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, helped the state secure funding for this 50 acre marsh restoration project.

"We gave about three and a half million dollars to the state of Mississippi to help preserve Deer Island so we wanted to come down, have a look and see what we helped buy," says Morgan.

Clark says what they helped buy was great deal.

"It was a beneficial use project using dredge material from the Biloxi channel. And we pumped the material in here in 2003. We let it consolidate or compact for about a year or so. We came in and we planted vegetation about three months ago."

Efforts that impress these experts.

"Being able to utilize dredge material to create and sculpt a complete marsh system from the bay bottom is a pretty unique thing," says Robert Kite of Houston Texas.

Experts who face their own unique concerns back home and everywhere where the land meets the sea.

By Don Culpepper

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