Mississippi GEMS

Bayou La Croix Preserve

  1. Bayou La CroixSite Information Point(s) of Contact: Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Coastal Preserves Program
  2. Geographic Information:
    1. Narrative Description of the Site: The primary boundary of this 1,478-acre preserve follows the edge of the non-forested brackish marsh along Bayou La Croix. The lower portion of the area is an estuarine marsh dominated by mid-level needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) with a big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides) zone in the higher elevations. Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) occurs as narrow (2-5 m) bands along the bayou. The upper, tidally influenced, areas of Bayou La Croix consist of narrow bands of cypress/gum swamp lining the waters edge. This freshwater marsh has beds of floating-leafed aquatic plants. The swamp is dominated by bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), the marsh by southern wild-rice (Zizaniopsis miliacea), and the aquatic bed is made up of cow-lily (Nuphar luteum macrophyllum). Arrow arum (Peltandra saggittaefolia) can also be observed in the marsh area. In the lower, oligohaline marsh areas of Bayou La Croix the dominate vegetation is a combination of mid-level needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) with big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides) occurring in the higher elevations. Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) occurs as narrow (2-5 m) bands along the bayou, salt-meadow grass (Spartina patens) and common reed (Phragmites australis) occur as scattered nearly pure stands, and eelgrass (Vallisneria americana) forms wide beds (5-10 m) along the edge of the bayou. Residences along the edge of Bayou La Croix with open septic systems pose a threat to the integrity of the environment.
    2. Date When Information Last Updated: March, 1998
    3. Location: Hancock County
    4. Area of Influence: Coastal plain
  3. Ecological/Cultural Characteristics
    1. Habitat type: The following ecological communities are expected or known to occur; estuarine subtidal 1) small tidal creek; estuarine intertidal 1) oligohaline marsh.
    2. Uniqueness of Natural Community: Upper Bayou La Croix: This tidally influenced region of Bayou LaCroix consists of narrow bands of cypress/gum swamp, freshwater marsh and floating leaved aquatic beds. The swamp is dominated by Taxodium distichum, the marsh by Zizaniopsis miliacea, and Nuphar luteum macrophyllum makes up the aquatic bed. Peltandra saggittaefolia can also be observed in the marsh area. Lower Bayou La Croix: Marshes in this oligohaline area consist of a combination of mid-level Juncus roemerianus dominated zones and a high elevation Spartina cynosuroides zone. Spartina alterniflora occurs as narrow (2-5 m) bands along the bayou. Spartina patens and Phagmites australis occur as scattered nearly pure stands. Vallisneria americana forms 5-10 m wide beds along the edge of the bayou.
  4. Current and Potential Use of the Site
    1. Recreational Use: Boaters and anglers use the area on occasional and seasonal basis for waterfowl hunting (sparingly) and fishing.
  5. Management Status
    1. Land Ownership: Lands adjacent to this Coastal Preserve are either privately, locally, state or federally owned or administered.
    2. Existing Designations: Mississippi Coastal Preserve
    3. Management Status: Managed by the Department of Marine Resources Coastal Preserves Program
    4. Acquisition Potential: Currently active.
    5. Management Needs: The State will manage the area as a coastal preserve. The DMR will have direct responsibility. Much of the property considered tidal wetlands, already owned by the State.
  6. Site Viability
    1. Threats to Ecological: Residences withopen septic systems.
  7. Comments and/or Additional Information on Bayou La Croix Preserve: email the Coastal Preserves Manager.

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