We know that freshwater can’t be protected with conservation alone, but requires a comprehensive approach that incorporates on the ground restoration projects and partnerships with landowners. The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi is working with Delta landowners and farmers to improve land management techniques and put conservation on the ground by providing management tools that are tailored specifically for Mississippi farmers.
Restoration On The Ground
The restoration of Mathews Brake National Wildlife Refuge, an iconic natural landmark in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, is now complete thanks to a unique partnership between local landowners, The Nature Conservancy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Delta Wildlife, and critical private partners. The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi completed the construction and installation of a large water control structure that will restore 3,500 acres of critical wetland and waterfowl habitat. Thanks to this work refuge staff will be able to manage the brake’s wetland system for the first time in refuge history.
On the Mississippi River at Coffee Point, The Nature Conservancy cut notches into three dykes to restore 3.5 miles of river channel. The restored flow will improve water quality and provide habitat to several fish and bird species. The project represents a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, who identified Coffee Point as one of several dyke fields along the Lower Mississippi that would benefit from this type of restoration.
Opportunities for Landowners
By working with USDA, landowners, and private donors, The Nature Conservancy introduced to Mississippi an innovative conservation easement program that has landowners in our Mississippi Delta counties excited. Many agricultural landowners have enrolled in the Conservation Restoration Enhancement Program. TNC helps landowners identify developed land that is running off into our Delta water systems, then restores this acreage to wetland and native bottomland hardwoods so that a natural buffer is created between the water and development, saving the landowners soil and keeping sediment out of the river.
As one of the primary tributaries for the Lower Mississippi Delta, the Big Black River acts as a major source of sediment runoff for the Mississippi Delta. The Nature Conservancy is working to identify areas in the river basin that need our attention and helping landowners stabilize the river and stream banks, and implement conservation easements between agriculture fields and tributaries, to prevent future runoff.
Scott Lemmons is the Freshwater Programs Director at The Nature Conservancy of Mississippi.
Managing Freshwater Resources
Find out how REACH farmers help conserve water and improve water quality and wildlife habitat.
The Buttahatchie is a biological gem with a variety of habitats.
Stabilizing streambanks and reducing erosion on the Buttahatchie.
Other Freshwater Projects
Old Fort Bayou is a beautiful wetland with pitcher plants and rare gopher frogs.
The Conservancy is restoring stream channels and over 350 acres of forested wetlands at Red Creek.