The Backwater Views and Wetland Blues Tour Makes For A Unique Trip On Coast Waters

The waters backwater bayous and coastal wetlands of north Harrison County are waters many along the coast have probably never seen. The waters sit next to important cultural, environmental and economic sites yet many along the coast don't know the value these waters hold.

"It's showing a real and important and interesting cross section of the Gulf Coast that we don't appreciate enough," says Derrick Evan, Turkey Creekkeeper.

Turkey Creekkeeper and friends organized the first Backwater Views and Wetlands Blues tour to show people why they need to protect the back waters and wetlands.

"Waste water and storm water those are two the most important issues at out there.  When we talk about storm water and waste water, it all ends up in our bays and estuaries.  We just don't understand it unless we're in the middle of where it ends up," says Mark LaSalle Audubon Mississippi.

"It's a quality of life issue. It's a public safety issue. It's a public health issue. We need our wetlands. We need clean water. We need to make it visible to people what's going on back here," says Evans.

Evans and other environmentalists agree wetlands are the first line of defense when it comes to surge water.  They say the more development fills them up the more problems it could create.

"The purpose is not to fight development but to grow with the development to make sure the development we have gives us the quality of life we've all hoped for," says Terese Collins, small business owner.

Collins says the issue isn't just environmental it's economic.

"These marshes are money-makers, and if we don't protect them we are going to lose that economy," says Collins.

While environmental problems existed pre-Katrina, the storm might have given the coast an opportunity to right its environmental wrongs.

"We have a golden opportunity in our efforts to rebuild to get it right, fix it and make it right now. says La Salle.

Louis Skrmetta's historic Pan-American Clipper hosted the tour.  About 100 people went on the tour and organizers say the first tour went so well, they're working to make it a recurring tour.