Nature Preserve Adds 1,600 Acres

The Nature Conservancy has created an 80-mile natural area along the Pascagoula River with the purchase of a 1,600-acre corridor between two preserves.

The new land purchase connects the Charles M. Deaton Preserve with the Pascagoula Wildlife Management Area. The purchase was part of a $2.5 million project funded by federal and state agencies and private donations, said Cynthia Ramseur, director of the Nature Conservancy's Gulf Coast program.

The Pascagoula River Basin is the largest free-flowing river by volume in the Southeast, Ramseur said. The management area provides recreational land for hunting and fishing, habitat for wildlife, and natural purification of the water table for surrounding areas, she said.

Protecting the river is important because the Pascagoula is home to salt water fish that spawn in fresh water, including the endangered gulf sturgeon, she said.