Mississippi GEMS

Old Fort Bayou Preserve

  1. Old Fort BayouSite 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 1,459-acre preserve follows the edge of the estuarine marsh from the mouth of Fort Bayou to where the marsh becomes forested. The lower portions of the bayou are oligohaline, consisting primarily of hummock needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) marsh. Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) occurs as a sub-dominant plant mixed in the Juncus along with big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides). Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) occurs as narrow, disjunct bands along the creeks and the bayou. The mid portion of the bayou consists largely of mid-level needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) dominated marshes and in the upper portions of the bayou the marsh is still dominated by needle rush (Juncus roemerianus), with disjunct bands of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) along the minor creek edges. The middle Old Fort Bayou oligohaline area is dominated with mid-level needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) marshes. Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) occurs as narrow, disjunct bands along the channels and saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) bands occur adjacent to the uplands. Eelgrass (Vallisneria) can be observed along the edges of the main channels. The lower, oligohaline portion of Old Fort Bayou consists primarily of hummock needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) marsh. The plants occur largely as clumps atop relatively low relief (5 cm) hummocks where the substrate is largely clay silt and not firm. Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) occurs as a sub-dominant plant mixed in the rush (Juncus) along with big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides). Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) occurs as narrow, disjunct bands along the creeks and the bayou.
    2. Date When Information Last Updated: March, 1998
    3. Location: Ocean Springs, Jackson County, N30 25'28" W088 48'44"
    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 2) embayment widgeon grass bed or tape grass bed; estuarine intertidal, 1) oligohaline marsh 2) mesohaline marsh; and other, 1) slash pine savanna.
    2. Rare/Endangered Species:
      1. Notropis petersoni Coastal Shiner
      2. Fundulus jenkinsi Saltmarsh Topminnow
      3. Malaclemys terrapin pilea Diamond Back Terrapin
      4. Alligator mississippiensis American Alligator
      5. Juniperus silicicola Southern Red Cedar
  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 within this Coastal Preserve are either privately, locally, state or federally owned. Much of the property is considered tidal wetlands and is already owned by the state.
    2. Existing Designations: Mississippi Coastal Preserve
    3. Management Status: Managed by the Department of Marine Resources Coastal Preserves Program.
    4. Existing Monitoring Activities: Monitored by the Department of Marine Resources Coastal Preserves Program.
    5. Acquisition Potential: Active
    6. Management Needs: The State will manage the area as a coastal preserve. The DMR will have direct responsibility.
  6. Site Viability
    1. Threats to Ecological Integrity: Residences with open septic systems.
  7. Comments and/or Additional Information on the Old Fort Bayou Preserve: email the Coastal Preserves Manager.

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