Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Biloxi, Mississippi, is losing a foot of salt marsh shoreline a year » Yale Climate Connections

Much of Biloxi, Mississippi, is on a narrow peninsula — bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Biloxi Bay to the northeast.

And some sections of shoreline along the marshy bay are rapidly eroding.

Sparks: “Currently, the salt marsh vegetation, which is, like, right along the edge … is being lost at about one foot per year.”

Eric Sparks is director of coastal marine extension at Mississippi State University. He says waves from boats cause much of the damage.

But sea level rise and intensifying storms are making matters worse.

Sparks: “With more extreme weather events and the big flushes of rain … you can have erosion coming off the shoreline slopes.”

As the shoreline shrinks, the risk of flooding grows for coastal properties — including a city park, VA hospital, and Keesler Air Force Base.

So Mississippi State University is partnering with the Air Force base to help reduce erosion along a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of shore.

The team will place long piles of rocks in the water to help break the waves before they reach the shore. And in some areas, they’re planting native grasses to help stabilize the banks.

So these critical community resources will be better protected from flooding as the climate warms.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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