Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Back to Gulf CRP Projects

Gulf of Mexico
2002 Projects
2003 Projects
2004 Projects
2005 Projects
2006 Projects
2007 Projects
2008 Projects
2009 Projects
2010 Projects
Marine Debris

2006 Projects
2007 Projects
2008 Projects
2009 Projects
2010 Projects



YEAR 2010 - CRP Project #9004 (Gulf of Mexico)

Project #9004
Deer Island Restoration Project

Biloxi, Mississippi

Looking out towards Deer Island in Mississippi
Looking out towards Deer Island in Mississippi

Project name:   Deer Island Restoration Project  
Project number:   9004  
Project status:   In Progress  
Grant Administrator:   Gulf of Mexico Foundation (for NOAA)  
Grantee:   Mississippi Department of Marine Resources  
Project location:   Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi  
Grant period:   Jan 1 - Dec 31, 2020  
Grant amount:   $20,000  
Land Ownership:   Public  
Lat/Long:   N 30.36432˚ W 88.820196˚  
Types of Habitat:   Tidal Marsh & Oyster Reef  
Project leader:   Scott Gordon, DMR Bureau DIrector
Mississippi DMR
1141 Bayview Ave.
Biloxi, MS 39530

Species Benefiting From Restoration:
   • American Oyster (Crassostrea viginica)
   • Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora)
   • Saltmeadow Cordgrass (Spartine patens)
   • Black Needlerush (Juncus roemerianus)

Acres of Habitat To be Restored:
Approximately 800 feet of protected shoreline to stop the erosion of 50 acres of wetland/marsh.

Project Summary:
Deer Island restoration project will protect 800 linear feet of shoreline on the north-east corner of the island from erosion by creating a break-water/berm. Approximately 700 cubic yards of recycled oyster shell will be deployed in 1 inch mesh wire bags/shell containers along the shoreline 2-3 bags high. The mesh wire bags will eventually rust away leaving the oyster habitat free of debris/trash (Plastic mesh bags will not degrade). Approximately 200 sacks (1 sack equals 1.9 cubic feet) of live oysters/brood stock will be deployed along the base (seaward side) of the shell containers to facilitate oyster spat recruitment. The site will be monitored for oyster spat recruitment, water hydrology (water temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen), and erosion control success/retention of shoreline (using gauges/rulers placed behind/land side of the shell retainers and photos of site during low tide).

Project Objectives:
Overall objective is to provide shoreline erosion control for an existing Deer Island project. In addition, the project aims to:

  1. Provide suitable substrate for an intertidal oyster reef/create an oyster reef habitat.
  2. Inform the public on the importance of the Deer Island Restoration Site (oyster reef habitat and wetland habitat) through presentations at local schools.
  3. Get the public involved in protecting their natural resources.

On-the-Ground Activities:

  • Mark the site/shoreline with Flags/2”PVC poles and place a “Deer Island Restoration Site Do Not Disturb” sign to minimize disturbances.
  • Construct approximately 2,000 shell retainers with mesh wire and rings, fill containers with shells and stock pile containers.
  • Transport filled shell containers to the loading site, load flat bottom skiffs with containers and transport containers to the site.
  • Deploy/stack containers along the marked shoreline of the site
  • Stake piled shell containers with wooden stakes for stability and the placement of gauges/meter sticks in the ground 100 feet apart on the landward side of the breakwater.
  • Dredge live oysters from Back Bay Biloxi state reef and deploy live oysters along the base/seaward side of the shell containers.
  • Monitor the hydrology monthly for any significant changes.
  • The data (number of spat/oysters, size distribution and mortality) will be used to determine success of recruitment.
  • If funds allow, more shell containers will be deployed to strengthen the breakwater and create a larger reef habitat/breakwater.
  • Shoreline retention will be accessed monthly and the taking of follow up photos of the progress of the project, which will be used in Power Point presentations at local schools.
  • Obtain permission/coordinate/set dates for project presentations with local schools.

Community Involvement:
Volunteers will construct shell containers, fill containers, stockpile
containers on low-boy trailer, transport containers to boat launch (Biloxi small craft harbor), load skiffs/boat with containers, operate boats, deploy/stack containers on designated site, drive stakes through the containers into the sand, dredge live oysters/brood stock, deploy brood stock on site, monitor hydrology of the site, take photographs of the site, sample site for oyster recruitment and shoreline retention success.

Click on photo to enlarge

Planting efforts on Deer Island
Planting efforts on Deer Island

Oyster bag that will be used at Deer Island
Oyster bag that will be used at Deer Island

Location of Deer Island in relation to Mississippi coast
Location of Deer Island in relation to Mississippi coast

Deer Island project area
Deer Island project area

Close-up map showing location of Deer Island
Close-up map showing location of Deer Island

Photos by Mississippi DMR

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


NOAA Restoration Center

Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Mississippi Dept of Marine Resources
MSDMR Coastal Preserves and Fisheries Offices

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(800) 884-4175 toll free - (361) 882-3939 phone - (361) 882-1262 fax
e-mail:     website:
webmaster: Carrie Robertson