A 250-acre watershed feeds into Weeks Bayou with nearly 40% remaining in its natural condition and 15% within the tidal marsh. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, this property changed ownership multiple times and was eventually donated by the City of Ocean Springs to The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain. Its restoration goals were aimed to not only improve water quality, but to remind the Ocean Springs community about the importance of caring for their diverse ecological watershed through education to youth and its neighbors.
To further the goal of educating students and community, this tidal marsh ecosystem was restored by excavating, removing and salvaging a concrete retaining wall and 20 dump truck loads of fill dirt. Marsh grasses were planted in the restored wetland and trees and shrubs were planted in the upland area. An outdoor classroom platform and water sampling dock were constructed using the salvaged concrete panels of the retaining wall and donated stainless steel bar grating. A boardwalk connecting the existing upland vegetation to the restored marsh was built out of salvaged timbers from the demolished retaining wall.
Through a partnership with The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Lab (GRCL), a program that educates students in the fields of science, the restored site will provide a learning environment for local schools and summer camps. Over 2,000 elementary through high school students will visit the site each year to learn about the restoration, water quality improvements and recycling through GRCL field trips and summer camps.