Human settlements have had a negative impact on the marine environment, threatening to destroy habitats; causing sediment, marine debris, and other invisible contaminants to enter waterways; and reducing the quality and quantity of marine life. Our multi-disciplinary team designed a beach landscape that improves water quality and is resistant to storms. This beach has had 234 beach advisories in a decade. The solution recreates the original condition of tidal creek estuaries that formed as each watershed met the Sound, allowing water to meander between a series of sand dunes anchored by native trees and dune grasses. Vegetation along the edges of the waterway filters out contaminants and provides a protected area for juvenile finfish and shellfish. The overhead canopy creates a shady spot, provides habitat for migratory birds, and lowers the temperature of the water before it enters the Sound, which might otherwise be a source of stress. Nearshore, a series of artificial reefs creates a living shoreline, and a last line of defence to intercept sediment and pathogens.
Local Office Landscape
USM School of Ocean Science and Technology
Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain