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Company proposes $22M recreational lagoon to preserve Mississippi’s coastline

Photo courtesy of Gulf Coast Development & Design

Mississippi company Gulf Coast Development & Design has created a project that aims to provide both protection to the coastal shoreline and a boost to local tourism in Harrison County.

The project, titled “Clearwater Gulf Coast Lagoon,” was presented to the Harrison County Board of Supervisors on Monday by co-owners Kenneth Jones and Andy Phelan. During the meeting, Jones and Phelan proposed that the county take proactive steps to preserve portions of Mississippi’s coast as erosion and storm damage wear away parts of the shoreline each year.

“We were able to look at this project the nature conservancy did in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. It’s a very similar project where they used a lot of the same aspects that we’re using in this,” Jones stated.

Plans for the lagoon begin with setting aside a one-mile-wide area 1,000 feet from the Gulf Coast’s current shoreline in locations such as Pass Christian, Gulfport, Biloxi, or Long Beach. According to Jones, the area of water would include wetland features, living organisms, water filtration, and possibly areas for beach vendors and local businesses.

Photo courtesy of Gulf Coast Development & Design

“I do think that there would be a major opportunity for beach vendors, which Harrison County already leases things to various beach vendors,” Jones said. “Whether it’s seaters or chairs in various areas, and maybe kayaks could be used inside this area too, I think there is possibility for local beach vendors to be a part of this.”

Jones added that although the lagoon would increase the water’s quality and clarity as a result, the color of the water would best resemble the conditions at Ship Island. In total, the project is estimated to cost $22 million for items such as construction, testing, continued maintenance, and more. If the project is approved by the county, it is expected to take two years to complete.

Currently, Jones and Phelan are developing a similar plan for the neighboring areas including Hancock and Jackson County to extend the reach of coastal preservation on Mississippi’s shores.

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