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Jackson County News

Posted on: December 4, 2023

Coast-Wide Beach & Dune Ecosystem Restoration Project

Beach Picture

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors has recently signed an agreement with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to initiate design of a Coast-Wide Beach & Dune Ecosystem Restoration Project.  The project focuses on Jackson County’s three man-made beaches, Ocean Springs Front Beach, Ocean Springs East Beach, and Pascagoula Front Beach, with primary objectives being:  

  • Increase the resiliency of the beaches.
  • Provide incidental hurricane and storm damage risk reduction benefits.
  • Expand nesting habitat for shorebirds and other marine animals.

To achieve these goals, the design may consider widening the beach into the Gulf to accommodate the construction of vegetated dune fields. The dunes will be located approximately 50 feet seaward of the existing beach seawalls.  Also, wave protection structures will potentially be constructed at selected locations to increase resiliency of the beaches and proposed vegetated dune fields.

During the next few days and weeks, equipment will be seen on the beaches as geotechnical investigations of the existing sand beaches are conducted to aid in the design and modeling of the proposed improvements. Additional factors that will be considered in the analysis are existing and known future piers and structures, existing living shoreline areas, public access, stormwater outfall locations, and others. 

Due to the complexity and scope of the project, the design and modeling phase will take approximately 18 months. The year-long construction phase could potentially begin as soon as 2026. However, with further design analysis, the scope of work could be expanded or decreased as needed to achieve the objectives while maintaining economic feasibility.

The Federal share of the Coast-Wide Beach and Dune Ecosystem Restoration Project is 65% and is funded by the FY 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The remaining 35% of the estimated $20M project will be funded by Jackson County, MS through its Seawall tax fund and potential other grant sources.  Also, a portion of the design and modeling is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, 2023 Tidelands Trust Fund, through the Secretary of State, Michael Watson, as well as the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

More information will be shared as the project design progresses.  Additionally, public meetings will be scheduled to provide residents with an opportunity to learn more and provide comments.

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors thanks the public for their patience and understanding while this important phase of the project is being completed.  For any questions about the project please contact Matthew Hosey, Jackson County Project Manager at (228) 769-3088.

Background and The Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program Comprehensive Plan (MsCIP) 

This project originated from the MsCIP which was developed by the Department of Defense (DoD) after the hurricanes of 2005, and as a response to legislation contained in the DoD Appropriations Act of 2006. MsCIP is a systemwide approach linking structural and nonstructural hurricane and storm damage risk reduction elements with ecosystem restoration elements, all with the goal of providing for a coastal community that is more resilient to hurricanes and storms.

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