Places We Protect

Lower Pearl River

Mississippi Partnerships

Cypress trees along the Lower Pearl River
Lower Pearl River Cypress trees along the Lower Pearl River © Colin May/The Nature Conservancy

Choctaw and Acolapissas Indians traveled, hunted and fished the Pearl and its tributaries.




Partnering with on-the-ground partners to protect the watershed region between Mississippi and Louisiana, the group concentrates on Mississippi's two southernmost counties on the River, Pearl River and Hancock, and in the two southernmost Louisiana parishes.

Named for the pearls found by French explorers at the mouth of river in the late 1600s, the Pearl River basin has a rich history and biological diversity. Centuries of human interactions continue today, as the Pearl is a popular location for angling and boating.

Habitats and Wildlife

Slow, meandering rivers and creeks, expansive bottomland hardwood forests, healthy marshes and dense cypress-tupelo swamps support a wide array of wildlife, including seven federally-listed species. The healthy marsh and swamp areas support viable fisheries industries in both Louisiana and Mississippi, and provide important feeding and nesting habitats for a variety of migratory birds, including the swallow-tailed kite.

The Pearl River supports 120-140 types of fish and nearly 40 species of freshwater mussels, making it one of the most species-rich river systems in North America. The Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi) is virtually unchanged from the time its ancestors swam these waters thousands of years ago. it is one of just a few types of fish that journeys each spring from the salty Gulf to freshwater areas to reproduce.

The Conservancy's Joint Project in Mississippi and Louisiana

Working together to protect the watersheds shared by Mississippi and Louisiana, the Lower Pearl River Partnership has conserved over 120,000 acres of land. Created in 2002 by the Conservancy chapters and Department of Environmental Quality in both states, the group partners with agencies, landowners and others to restore and protect ecologically significant areas along the Pearl River and its tributaries.

The Conservancy owns and manages over 6,400 acres in five preserves, and helped acquire 22,765 acres for the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana. An additional 13,206 acres were obtained for the Old River Wildlife Management Area of Mississippi.



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