Reef extension at Deer Island thanks in part to Biloxi infrastructure project

Reef extension at Deer Island thanks in part to Biloxi infrastructure project
Concrete culverts, partially from the Biloxi infrastructure project, are being used to lengthen Katrina Key, the artificial reef south of Deer Island. (Source: wlox)

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s taken about three years to collect the concrete culverts - and about as much time to get permission to dump them into the Mississippi Sound.

“The process has been a few years in the making,” said Travis Williams, director of artificial reefs for the Department of Marine Resources. “We spent a couple of years trying to get the permits for this area, so obviously working with the Corps of Engineers. That’s taken the longest amount of time, and now, we’re just excited that it’s finally coming to fruition.”

Katrina Key began in 2007 south of Deer Island with about 4,800 feet of rubble from the old Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge.

The nearly 1,000-foot addition, which is in its second week, is the first in about seven years, thanks, in part, to discarded culverts donated from the Biloxi infrastructure project.

There will be nearly 6,000 tons of concrete culverts when the project is finished.

Williams hopes this new material will show promise as a fish habitat.

“We’re interested to see if material actually holds more baitfish,” he said.

Katrina Key is one of more than 80 artificial reefs under DMR control for erosion projection and habitat growth, and there is more to come.

“We do have the availability to also extend Katrina Key in some more phases and we hope to do that in the new few years as well,” Williams said.

For Williams, his appreciation of these artificial reefs began as a child fishing near them.

“It does bring me back to memories when I was a kid and knowing that one day my son will actually have the opportunity to get out here and enjoy it as much as I did," he said.

Boaters are urged to steer clear of the project, which should be finished next week.

The $200,000 project was made possible through GOMESA funds.

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