GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A $7.5 million project is underway for habitat restoration and conservation in Turkey Creek.
Flooding from the creek is a problem that's plagued the entire Forrest Heights community for years. The project will include removing debris and invasive species from the Turkey Creek watershed and stabilizing the banks.
"We will look at how that's going to give us the ecological benefits. It's not going to stop the flooding in this area, but we are very happy to have it. It is a start and it is the first start," said councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines.
Holmes-Hines hopes this will lead to a quick resolution. "We have to have the Army Corps of Engineers $18 million to get these 200 citizen's families out of these floodwaters," she said.
Sandbags have become a permanent fixture outside Forrest Heights Missionary Baptist Church.
"We been praying to God that the rain will stop soon...where it won't flood. But it's always a constant threat," said Kenneth Taylor.
A constant threat that comes from the church's next door neighbor, Turkey Creek.
Taylor has been a deacon at the church for more than 40 years, and he's seen the troubles the creek causes when it overflows. "Simple rain just like this past weekend. If you had came and filmed this weekend, the water would come all the way up to here," Taylor said, pointing to an area feet away from the church.
Holmes-Hines said funding that study will help to build the levees higher and assist with drainage.
Until that happens, Taylor said no matter how high the flood waters get, this church will stand strong.
"We built this church back in the 70s, so this is a historical mark. We don't want to move nowhere else out of the community," he said.
A community meeting was held Tuesday for the public to find out more about the $7.5 million project.