State of the Beach/State Reports/MS

From Beachapedia

Home Beach Indicators Methodology Findings Beach Manifesto State Reports Chapters Perspectives Model Programs Bad and Rad Conclusion



Mississippi has a good information regarding beach water quality but only poor to fair water quality due to a variety of nonpoint pollution sources and inadequate/poorly maintained wastewater infrastructure. Beach access is fair and and the state has recently produced an inventory and assessment of public access sites, although it concentrated on boating access rather than beach access. Beach erosion and beach ecology information is good, but there is very little information on beach fill, shoreline structures, and proactive erosion response programs and planning.

Mississippi Ratings


(+) Alabama and Mississippi developed a Living Shorelines Manual assist homeowners with prioritizing non-structural shoreline stabilization options over more conventional yet ecologically damaging hard stabilization methods.

(+) The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, with the goal of significantly increasing regional collaboration to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. The five U.S. Gulf States have identified six priority issues that are regionally significant and can be effectively addressed through increased collaboration at local, state, and federal levels: Water Quality, Habitat Conservation and Restoration, Ecosystem Integration and Assessment, Nutrients & Nutrient Impacts, Coastal Community Resilience, and Environmental Education.

(+) A Post-Katrina Inventory and Assessment of Public Access Sites: Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties, Mississippi (Revised September 2011) was prepared for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Coastal Zone Management Program, by Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District as Phases I and II of a three-year study of public access resources in the three coastal counties of Mississippi. The Mississippi Coastal Public Access Site Map is a companion document that offers a visual depiction of the location of these sites, photographs of the sites, available amenities, and a brief summary of the condition of the site when it was last visited.

(+) Accessing the Mississippi Coast, from Auburn University Marine Extension & Research Center, provides extensive information regarding coastal access for private waterfront landowners, government and public entities, and waterfront users. Also included are frequently-asked questions, a coastal access toolkit and common law and statutes.

(+) The Gulf Region Water and Wastewater Plan has digital maps showing the location of facilities that discharge stormwater, industrial wastewater and municipal wastewater in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.

(+) The Mississippi Office of Geology, Coastal Geology Section within the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality is actively involved in studying and monitoring coastal change along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Coastal Geology Section has numerous sources of data covering a wide variety of coastal monitoring and sampling data types. All of the data are available to the public.

(+) During NOAA's latest evaluation period, the MSCP acquired and preserved almost 1,000 additional acres within the Coastal Preserves System, actively restored coastal wetlands and ecosystems, and through the implementation of the Coastal Wetlands Protection Act, protected coastal wetlands, important nursery grounds for fish and aquatic life. The State currently has title to approximately 30,000 acres of the designated 72,000 acres of crucial coastal wetland habitat within Mississippi's 20 coastal preserve sites.

(0) There's not much in the way of ridable surf along the coast of Mississippi. In fact, the state may win the prize for the least surf of any ocean coastal state.

(-) Neither the state nor the majority of coastal cities have conducted a thorough sea level rise vulnerability assessment or developed an adaptation plan in consideration of climate change impacts.

(-) Individuals constructing a building, fishing camp, or "similar structure" on their own property within coastal wetlands are not required to obtain a permit, resulting in poor protection of this valuable and rapidly disappearing ecosystem.

(-) NOAA's latest evaluation of the Mississippi CMP noted: "...many public access facilities along the coast of Mississippi were destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. New development patterns including the emergence of casinos and condominiums on the coast have restricted public access. In addition, although many locals know where public access points are located, visitors don’t always know the location of the nearest public access points."

(-) In 2009, 10% of all reported beach monitoring samples exceeded the state’s daily maximum bacterial standards. The beaches with the highest percent exceedance rates in 2009 were Gulfport East Beach (24%) and Courthouse Road Beach (20%) in Harrison County, Waveland Beach (17%) and Bay St. Louis Beach (16%) in Hancock County, and Long Beach (16%) and Pass Christian Central Beach (15%) in Harrison County.

(-) Mississippi and Alabama experienced devastating losses due to natural hazard events in 2004 and 2005. Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina caused the loss of more than 1,800 lives and damages that that exceeded $96 billion. In 2005, more than 275,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed in Mississippi and Alabama from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The loses included 90 percent of housing units in Hancock County, 68 percent in Harrison County, 64 percent in Jackson County, 30 percent in Mobile County and 7 percent in Baldwin County.

(-) Mississippi has very little information on beach fill, shoreline structures, and proactive erosion response programs and planning.


To see all of Surfrider Foundation's coastal victories and campaigns, go here.

State of the Beach Report: Mississippi
Mississippi Home Beach Description Beach Access Water Quality Beach Erosion Erosion Response Beach Fill Shoreline Structures Beach Ecology Surfing Areas Website
2011 7 SOTB Banner Small.jpg