Spectra Energy Foundation is helping fund conservation efforts in south Mississippi by providing a $50,000 contribution to The Nature Conservancy. The grant will be used to purchase additional property along the Pascagoula River and expand the Conservancy’s prescribed fire program.
“The Pascagoula River has long been a conservation priority for the Conservancy, Mississippi state agencies and the Pascagoula River Basin Alliance,” said Jim Murrian, state director for the Mississippi Chapter. “With Spectra’s financial support we will be able to continue the important work of protecting this unique national treasure through the acquisition, restoration and management of priority parcels along the river.”
The Pascagoula River corridor is home to many threatened and endangered aquatic species, such as the yellow-blotched map turtle, the Pearl darter, stripped bass and the Gulf sturgeon. It is also home to many bird species, including swallow-tail and Mississippi kites, wood storks, and a variety of herons and Neotropical migratory songbirds. “All these species depend on a healthy free-flowing river and well managed upland areas for their continued survival,” Murrian said. “The Nature Conservancy is honored to have Spectra Energy as a partner working to protect the special natural areas and waters of Mississippi such as the Pascagoula River.”
Sweetbay Bogs Preserve is one of many special places within the Pascagoula River watershed that will benefit from Spectra Energy’s gift. Sweetbay Bogs was the Mississippi Chapter’s first land purchase in December 1989. The longleaf pine uplands and the associated quaking bogs at this preserve are part of a fire dependent ecosystem. Sweetbay Bogs Preserve and many of Mississippi’s native plant and animal species depend on frequent fire in order to survive and thrive. For Sweetbay, frequent fire keeps the bogs free of shrubs and provides habitat for the threatened and endangered gopher tortoise. The grant from Spectra will allow the Conservancy to expand prescribed fire management on this preserve. The Conservancy is also working with land partners across the state to reintroduce the natural process of fire back to the landscape.
For more information on the Pascagoula River, please contact Becky Stowe, Director of Stewardship.
The Nature Conservancy
South Mississippi Conservation Program
10910 Highway 57, Suite C
Vancleave, MS 39565