New Partnership Benefits Wetlands at Theodore Mars Wildlife Management Area

The Nature Conservancy and the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks collaborate to improve Pearl River County habitats

Longleaf Pine Forest

Did you know less than 4% of the original longleaf pine forest exists today? Watch this video and learn more.


Southeast Mississippi | March 07, 2012

People and wildlife in Southeast Mississippi stand to benefit from a new conservation partnership in Mississippi. The Nature Conservancy has awarded $100,000 to the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to enhance wetlands at the state’s Theodore A. Mars, Jr. Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Pearl River County. Funds for this project were received from the Environmental Protection Agency to acquire, restore or enhance wetlands in the lower Pearl River drainage.

Dr. Sam Polles, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said, “This type of conservation partnership gives added strength to solving the ever-changing conservation equation. We are excited to be working with The Nature Conservancy once again and look forward to more ventures in the future.”

At 896 acres, this WMA outside of Poplarville is one of the smallest in the state system—but provides critical longleaf pine habitat for threatened and endangered species such as black bear, gopher tortoises and black pine snakes as well as game species including deer, rabbits and bobwhite quail. The funding from The Nature Conservancy will focus on the 93 acres of wetlands on site, and allow additional land management practices to be implemented that will continue to improve the wetland habitats within the borders of the Mars WMA.

One of the key land management techniques used throughout the region is prescribed fire, where professional teams implement a regular regime of controlled fire to reduce the growth of non-native plant species and shrubs. These prescribed fires improve the habitat for native species and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. Other activities include control of non-native invasive species.

“The Conservancy is very excited to join in partnership with the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks,” said Jim Murrian, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy of Mississippi. He continued, “It is because of partnerships such as this that conservation funds can make a significant impact around Mississippi.”

The Nature Conservancy is the world’s leading conservation organization and has been active in Mississippi since the 1970s. The Conservancy’s science-based, pragmatic solutions to complex problems involve working with individuals, businesses, agencies and other interested parties to meet the mission of conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. You can learn more about the Conservancy at

The mission of the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is to provide financial support for various projects associated with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks. The Foundation works with the Department of Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to protect and preserve our wonderful wildlife heritage for generations to come. More information may be found at

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Nelwyn McInnis
Mitigation Program Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi

Clark Gordin
Executive Director
Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks


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