Anchor QEA Deer Island Project Featured in City of Biloxi News
Home to one of the most accessible reef projects on the Gulf Coast, the City of Biloxi in Mississippi recently featured the new 90-acre Deer Island Subtidal Reef in its online newsletter.
Learn more about this project on page 14 of the newsletter.
New Reef Established North of Deer Island
“The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality completed construction of the 90-acre Deer Island subtidal reef in early 2021, using Natural Resource Damage Assessment Restoration funds.
Scientists say the goal of the project is to ‘restore secondary benthic productivity.’ For fishermen, that means it’s a nursery for oysters/bivalve mollusks, shrimp and crabs. It’s part of an overall effort to address natural resources damage from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The reef is located between Deer Island and East Biloxi, with a minimum 200-foot offset from the federal navigation channel. The project footprint includes relict historic oyster reefs as well as Joe Thornton Hull reef.
The reef was constructed using crushed limestone generally 1-inch-by-4 inch in diameter, which was selected to provide a greater surface area for shellfish spat attachment and growth. Designed to mimic a natural reef for enhanced productivity, the reef was meticulously constructed in irregular ridges with varying height profiles (0 to 3.0 feet above the bottom), providing spaces used for cover and forage habitat for crustaceans, fish and other aquatic species.
The minimum clearance of the reef at mean lower low tide is 2 feet. In addition to the four yellow flashing lighted buoys installed at the four corners of the reef, as required by the U.S. Coast Guard, three additional yellow buoys were installed along the northern boundary of the reef to ensure that boaters can clearly see the limits of the reef. MDEQ plans to monitor the reef for a period of five years to
evaluate the success of the design and newly created habitat.”