Cypress was contracted by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to perform marsh assessment work in support of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation: Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund program “Utilization of Dredge Material for Marsh Restoration in Coastal Mississippi”.

Our role in this project was to perform marsh assessments on reference sites to inform restoration performance metrics and basis for design on future beneficial use marsh creation sites. The marsh assessment work focused on measuring marsh topography, vegetation community structure and vegetation community composition at 3 reference sites in coastal Mississippi.  Assessment occurred over 3 separate sampling events during December 2016, June 2017 and December 2017, capturing the dormant and growing seasons.  The reference sites were selected to represent a range of site conditions for nearshore estuarine marshes in the Mississippi Sound, from interior tidal creeks, to bay shorelines and a nearshore island.

Future survey events will be performed biannually with a growing season event and a dormant season event. The three sites are distributed across the Mississippi coast with each coastal county containing a site. Site locations include:

  • Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (Jackson County)
  • Deer Island (Harrison County)
  • Bayou Caddy (Hancock County)

In total, 105 acres of marsh were surveyed during each event, collecting spot elevation measurements, plant biodiversity, biomass, and community structure metrics. The spot elevation points were used to generate interpolated elevation surfaces for all 3 sites via GIS analysis.

Marsh Assessment - Species Cover vs Elevation
Marsh Assessment Reference Site
Marsh Assessment Histogram