Erosion Eating Away Deer Island

Experts say fighting erosion on Deer Island and the other barrier islands off our coast is a never ending battle. Natural wave and wind action constantly washes away the sand. The south side of Deer Island catches the brunt of destructive storms.

"Because you have the storms and wind on that side. It's a higher energy environment so you have more erosion on the south side than you have on the north side of the island," says Coastal Preserves Manager Jeff Clark.

To help build up the island, Clark says the Department of Marine Resources is teaming up with the Corps of Engineers to use dredge material.

"Right now we're looking at restoring about 40 acres of marsh on the northeast end of island and that's gonna be using dredge material from the Biloxi channel to build that marsh," he says.

DMR Executive Director Dr. William Walker says, "Then the long range plans to restore the beaches on the south side, that requires the identification of certain areas of dredged areas or areas that need to be dredged and where the materials will be suitable for the renourishment of the beach."

There's no timetable for the island restoration. The DMR says it's just a matter of getting the proper paperwork and permits in place, hopefully before the end of the year.

"There's no one that doesn't want this so it's not something that we have to see. It's just a matter of going through the process. Everyone's in favor of it, it's a win win situation for everyone," Walker says.

When the state took over part of Deer Island last May, the island became part of the Coastal Preserves program.  It is managed jointly by the DMR and the Mississippi Secretary of State.