County Scraps Hard Structure Plan for Natural Shoreline

The Takeaway: An Ocean Springs park is less flood prone and more scenic, thanks to natural infrastructure informed by the NOAA Digital Coast’s Sea Level Rise Viewer.

At the spot where a traditional, hardened shoreline was once planned, Inner Harbor Park in Ocean Springs now sports a rapidly growing natural shoreline of marsh, sand, and riprap that will lessen flood-related problems and be less costly to maintain. Digital Coast’s Sea Level Rise Viewer played a part by identifying areas where added natural infrastructure would soak up excess water and keep erosion at bay.

The process began when Ocean Springs officials decided to include residents in discussions on strengthening resilience to tropical storms, heavy rain events, and rising sea levels. At local workshops, participants used Digital Coast’s Sea Level Rise Viewer to understand local vulnerabilities. They also identified flood impacts that were already happening and reviewed potential flood-reduction projects.

The workshops’ success helped persuade Jackson County’s Board of Supervisors to reject a hardened-shoreline plan in favor of using nature-based materials and processes. Other natural shoreline benefits include a more scenic design and a healthier habitat for plants and animals. (Original story 2017/Updated 2018)

More Information: See Ocean Springs Video

Partners: Allen Engineering and Science, City of Ocean Springs, Gulf of Mexico Alliance, Jackson County, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium