Grand Bay NERR

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The Grand Bay NERR is a large, pristine, intact estuary which supports a highly diverse floral and faunal community. This site, located in southeastern Jackson County, encompasses about 7,446 ha and is one of the largest estuarine systems in Mississippi. Designated in 1999, the Grand Bay NERR is a state and federal partnership. The state partner is the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MS DMR) and the federal partner is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition to MS DMR and NOAA, the Grand Bay NERR has several other primary partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi Secretary of State, Mississippi State University, University of Southern Mississippi, and The Nature Conservancy of Mississippi.

The NERR is representative of the Louisianan biogeographic region and is located in the Mississippi Deltaic subregion. Thus, the reserve research and stewardship staffs are actively engaged in conducting monitoring, research, restoration, and management projects throughout the area. Other reserve staff, including the education and coastal training program currently provides education and training for a variety of audiences throughout this biogeographic region as well. The Grand Bay area consists of a broad variety of estuarine and non-estuarine wetland habitats that together form a largely intact coastal watershed. Geologic data suggest this area was historically part of a larger river delta although it is now characterized as a retrograding delta due to a change in the river’s course. The open-water estuarine areas support large, productive patches of submerged aquatic vegetation, including widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) with smaller patches of shoal grass (Halodule wrightii). The muddy intertidal areas support scattered, unconsolidated, or fringe oyster reefs. At slightly higher elevations, wide varieties of representative marsh types (low, mid-level and high elevation zones across a wide range of salinity) as well as some of the most extensive, unvegetated salt flats or pannes in Mississippi are found. The non-tidal areas include wet pine savanna, coastal bayhead and cypress swamps, freshwater marshes and maritime forests. Of the nearly 7,400 ha within the boundaries of the site, approximately 75 % (5,550 ha) are publicly owned. Students and faculty from ECSC schools, particularly Creighton University, Jackson State University and FAMU, have a long history of collaborative research at GBNERR.

Contact Information

Dr. Ayesha Gray ( - Reserve Manager

Dr. Mark Woodrey ( - Research Coordinator

Christina Mohrman ( - ECSC Coordinator of Research Programs/Services

Phone Number: (228) 475-7047


Our NERR Partners

  •   1515 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, 305-D FSH Science Research CenterTallahassee, FL 32307(850) 412-7797