Grand Bay Gets Reefs

Some time ago I placed a project in what then was the “new” MDEQ RESTORE Project Portal.  Project 4248 points to the problem of wave action erosion occurring in Grand Bay NERR. No one has to take my word for it, the erosion was documented by the USGS in a time-lapse video that estimates the erosion to be around ten feet per year.

Well that was 2014, nothing has happened; however, the RESTORE funded projects do grandbay reef restorationnow include a project to rebuild “approximately 3 acres of intertidal reefs and 77 acres of subtidal reef habitat”.


Actually recovering oyster reefs, the currently planned projects, seems counter-intuitive to me considering there are 700 gallons of toxic tailings in the nearby phosphate stack that spilled in Mississippi Phosphates(2)2005 and 2012.

I  personally am not ever eating oysters from Bang’s Lake. I say that but I do understand that oyster reef recovery plays a great deal in helping recover the oyster population which in turn helps everything else.   When I expressed this concern to someone in the Gulf Restoration Network I was somewhat encouraged by the following reply:

Glen, some of the oyster reefs are being built in waters that are restricted for the reasons you gave (toxics) and due to being in areas with elevated sewage bacteria (pathogens). The resource managers justify the efforts nevertheless because if oysters are living and are reproducing, the young, free-swimming veliger larvae can go anywhere on the tides and currents, and the spatfall from these parent oyster beds can help seed oysters in both harvestable and non-harvestable (restiricted) water bottoms.
Its a numbers game, and so increasing the amount of adult oysters that can make viable veliger larvae is seen as a desirable end even though the beds may be in polluted areas. Overall recruitment of new oysters is something that’s been suffering since 2005, and this could help overall recruitment recover. That’s my take on it.
Think of mother cottonwood or willow trees that have the light, puffy airborne seeds that blow in the wind like snow. If there are mudflats nearby that could be seeded, the more mother-trees you have, the more seeds go floating out on the wind and the more likely those mudflats will get seeded. One lone cottonwood versus a grove of them. The more reproducing reefs you have, the more veligers you’ll have floating around for a possible landing on a suitable hard shell bank or prepared reef of some kind.

So, the planned reefs are something good for Grand Bay, and I haven’t given up hope for mouthofBCwitholdspitbefore erosionadditional projects.  This photo shows the mouth of Bayou Cumbest.  If you look at the point on the far side of the photo, that point has receded some 40-50 feet if not more.    I wrote about the erosion in some previous posts after I put project 4248 into the project portal.  The following article includes the time-lapse video documenting the erosion:
Protect Point-Aux-Chenes Bay Shoreline 
Good Day, Grand Bay

The latest MDEQ Restoration Summit was this past Tuesday.  Of course I could not attend for work demands.  But Mr. Chris Wells of the MDEQ will speak at our Magnolia Fly Fishers meeting, Tuesday, November 20 at the Bass Pro in Pearl MS.  We meet in the large conference room upstairs, behind the footwear.  So folks that live here in central Mississippi wanting to know more can come and learn more about the planned projects.

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