Deer Island was first occupied by American Indians, then Europeans in 1717. It was used for fishing and farming in the 18th and 19th centuries, and was even home to an amusement park in 1915. The island's residents left after Hurricane Camille in 1969.
The narrow, four-mile long island is essentially a relic of the mainland, not a true barrier island.
In the mid 1800s, Deer island was nearly twice its current size. With an average loss of two acres per year and rising sea levels, land-loss is the island's greatest threat.
Following Hurricane Katrina, a 3,200 foot breakwater was constructed with debris from the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge and placed south of a large breach in the island to slow erosion and enhance recreational fishing.