The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) have announced the construction of a berm for a marsh restoration project at the Round Island Coastal Preserve in Pascagoula. An anticipated four to five million cubic yards of dredge material from a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ project will be removed from the Pascagoula Channel, with approximately 2.5 million cubic yards placed adjacent to Round Island which will create about 200 acres of sand beach and marsh habitat.
“This type of marsh will provide many benefits to Mississippi and the Gulf. Salt marshes can function as water and air purifiers, as well as significantly add to the food chain by producing biomass,” said Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director.
A unique situation developed in the Mississippi Sound which presented a perfect opportunity for Mississippi to increase the marsh acreage adjacent to Round Island. The Army Corps previously had added the Port of Pascagoula to its list of sites to be dredged, and the MDMR previously had obtained the appropriate permits for construction adjacent to Round Island. Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the state, local, and federal agencies designed a plan for MDEQ to construct the berm. [Miller/Parisien]