State of the Beach/State Reports/MS/Beach Fill

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Mississippi Ratings
Indicator Type Information Status
Beach Access65
Water Quality83
Beach Erosion9-
Erosion Response-3
Beach Fill2-
Shoreline Structures2 5
Beach Ecology1-
Surfing Areas1NA
Coastal Development{{{19}}}{{{20}}}
Sea Level Rise{{{21}}}{{{22}}}


State, Territory, and Commonwealth Beach Nourishment Programs, A National Overview (NOAA, March 2000) provides the following information:

State Nourishment Policy

The state has some policies regarding beach nourishment.

Policy Citation and Description

Mississippi Coastal Program. Chapter VIII. Section 2. Part III. H. Dredged Material Disposal. All dredged material should be viewed as a potentially reusable resource. For example, materials suitable for beach replenishment should be used immediately for such purposes or stockpiled in existing disposal areas for later use.

Mississippi Coastal Program. Chapter VIII. Section 2. Part III. L. Other Mineral Extraction. Sand mining is allowed in order to obtain materials for beach nourishment projects.

Mississippi Coastal Program. Chapter VIII. Section 2. Part III. O. Filling Other Than Dredged Material Disposal. Fill material should be non-toxic and either stabilized or of sufficient size as to not be displaced during typical storm tides. Beach nourishment does not require stabilization.

Related Policies

Near Shore Sand Mining Regulations

Mississippi Coastal Program. Chapter III. Section 2. Miss. Code Ann. §49-27-5. A permit is required for removal of sand from coastal wetlands.

Mississippi Coastal Program. Chapter VIII. Section 2. Part III. L. Other Mineral Extraction. Prohibits extraction of sand from coastal wetlands within 1,500 ft. of tidal marshes or within one mile of the base of live reefs, unless obtaining material for beach replenishment.

Dredge and Fill Regulations

Mississippi Coastal Program. Chapter III. Section 2. Miss. Code Ann. §49-27-5. A permit is required for dredging and filling in coastal wetlands.

Mississippi Coastal Program. Chapter VIII. Section 2. Part III. H. Dredged Material Disposal. All dredged material should be viewed as a potentially reusable resource. For example, materials suitable for beach replenishment should be used immediately for such purposes or stockpiled in existing disposal areas for later use.

Sand Scraping/Dune Reshaping Regulations

The Harrison County Sand Beach Department has sand scraping/dune reshaping regulations.

Beach Nourishment Funding Program

There is a state funding program for beach nourishment. Funds from the Seawall Tax are used to fund beach nourishment projects.

NOAA's latest evaluation notes:

"In 2008, MSCP staff began participating in a re-activated Beneficial Use of Dredged MaterialGroup that had been inactive since Hurricane Katrina. Members include NOAA, Department ofInterior, USACE, EPA, MSOS, MDEQ, Mississippi Port Authority, the coastal counties, and congressional staff. The Beneficial Use Group is focused on finding opportunities to use dredged material in restoration activities and beach restoration. To further these efforts, DMR has signed a MOU with the Port of Pascagoula to store material for restoration, instead of using an upland disposal site. In addition, as part of this group, staff worked with Jackson County officials to determine if material from several small dredging projects would be suitable for repairing damage to the Deer Island Marsh Restoration project. Approximately 100 cubic yards of dredged material were placed on the restoration site, but shallow water access issues prevented any further deposition of material on the site."

The following information regarding Regional Sediment Management in the northern Gulf of Mexico can be found on the website of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District:

"In the past, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has focused on managing sand at coastal projects on a project-by-project basis. This approach to sand management may not adequately consider the impact of individual projects on down drift projects. To address this issue, the USACE has initiated efforts to assess the benefits of managing sediment resources as a regional scale resource rather than a localized project resource. The concept of Regional Sediment Management (RSM) is a result of the 67th meeting of the Coastal Engineering Research Board (CERB) held in May 1998.

In October 1999, the US Army Engineer District, Mobile (SAM), initiated the USACE Northern Gulf of Mexico Regional Sediment Management Demonstration Program. The goal of the demonstration program is to change the paradigm of project specific management to focusing on a regional approach in which the USACE as well as state and local agencies stop managing projects and begin "managing the sand." The objectives of the demonstration program are:

  • Implement Regional Sediment Management Practices;
  • Improve Economic Performance by Linking Projects;
  • Development of New Engineering Techniques to Optimize/Conserve Sediment;
  • Determine Bureaucratic Obstacles to Regional Sediment Management; and
  • Manage in Concert with the Environment.

The SAM demonstration region is bounded by the St. Marks River, Florida, to the east and the Pearl River, MS to the west. The region encompasses approximately 375-miles of coastal shoreline including the MS Barrier Islands. The region includes 14 major Federal projects (Panacea Harbor, Carrabelle Harbor, Apalachicola Bay, Port St. Joe Harbor, Panama City Harbor/St. Andrew Bay Entrance, East Pass, Pensacola Pass, Perdido Pass, Mobile Bay Entrance/Dauphin Island, Bayou La Batre, Pascagoula Harbor, Biloxi Harbor, Gulfport Harbor, and Pass Christian Harbor), the Panama City Beach Nourishment project, eight State parks, the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Eglin and Tyndall Air Force Bases, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Naval Station Pascagoula, Keesler Air force Base, Gulfport Naval Sea Bee Base, and the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair, USN Gulf Coast, as well as many cities and counties. To accomplish the RSM goal, it is essential that partnering and coordination with agencies interested in the management of this coastal region be achieved.

The product of the RSM demonstration program is a Regional Sediment Management Plan consisting of a calibrated regional sediment budget, a calibrated numerical regional prediction system, and a regional data management and Geographic Information System. These tools will assist in making management decisions and increase benefits resulting from improved sand management throughout the region."

Mississippi's 2006 Coastal Assessment and strategy noted:

"Mississippi’s coastal counties have long understood the importance of the barrier islands and the beaches within the context of protection from natural disasters. The three coastal counties have actively participated in beach renourishment activities. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Governor Barbour has proposed a very aggressive 10-year program designed to restore 10,000 acres of pristine estuarine habitat damaged or destroyed by Katrina. The primary goals of this initiative are to bolster marine life and the coastal seafood industry, while at the same time providing an increased level of protection from future storms."

The report Historical Changes in the Mississippi-Alabama Barrier-Island Chain and the Roles of Extreme Storms, Sea Level, and Human Activities by Robert A. Morton of the U.S. Geological Survey (2007) discusses natural and human-caused factors influencing erosion of barrier islands off the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama. The report advocates for the use of dredged material on adjacent barrier islands:

"The only factor that has a historical trend that coincides with the progressive increase in rates of land loss is the progressive reduction in sand supply associated with nearly simultaneous deepening of channels dredged across the outer bars of the three tidal inlets maintained for deep-draft shipping. [...] The reduction in sand supply related to disruption of the alongshore sediment transport system is the only factor contributing to land loss that can be managed directly. This can be accomplished by placing dredged material so that the adjacent barrier island shores receive it for island nourishment and rebuilding."


A beach fill project was completed at West Ship Island in 1996. Cost: $261,250 (State/Local).

Having learned the lessons of the importance of barrier islands, the Army Corps of Engineers allocated $500 million to their restoration after Hurricane Katrina. The first project concluded in 2011, with the reconstruction of the northern shore of West Ship Island, adding 150 to 550 feet of beaches into the Mississippi Sound. In 2014, East and West Ship Islands will be rejoined by filling in the nearly 6-mile Camille Cut, formed by Hurricane Camille in the 1960s. Further projects are scheduled for Horn, Petit Bois and Cat Islands, and studies are underway as to how best reintroduce beach quality sand dredge into the water column.

The data source mentioned below at Western Carolina University lists about 20 beach fill projects from 1942 to 2001 along the Mississippi coast. The largest of these projects have been in Harrison County.

Information on beach fill in Mississippi is also available through Western Carolina University's Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines. State-by-state information is available from the pull-down menu or by clicking on a state on the map on this page.

In 2017 the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) announced a new online National Beach Nourishment Database – featuring data on projects comprised of nearly 1.5 billion cubic yards of sand placed in nearly 400 projects covering the continental U.S. coastline. In addition to the total volume and the number of projects, the database includes the number of nourishment events, the oldest project, the newest project, the known total cost, the total volume and the known length. The information is broken into both state statistics and those of local or regional projects. Every coastal continental state is included (so Alaska and Hawaii are still being compiled), and projects along the Great Lakes are similarly waiting to be added.

A report National Assessment of Beach Nourishment Requirements Associated with Accelerated Sea Level Rise (Leatherman, 1989) on EPA's Climate Change Impacts and Adapting to Climate Change websites notes that the cumulative cost of sand replenishment to protect Mississippi's coast from a 50 to 200 cm rise in sea level by 2100 is estimated at $72 million to $370 million.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Civil Works Budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides $4.62 billion in gross discretionary funding for the Civil Works program. This budget lists proposed projects and the associated budget justification by state.

State, Territory, and Commonwealth Beach Nourishment Programs: A National Overview (2000) is a report NOAA/OCRM that provides an overview of the problem of beach erosion, various means of addressing this problem, and discusses issues regarding the use of beach nourishment. Section 2 of the report provides an overview of state, territorial, and commonwealth coastal management policies regarding beach nourishment and attendant funding programs. Appendix B provides individual summaries of 33 beach nourishment programs and policies.

State of the Beach Report: Mississippi
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