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ֱ-led Northern Gulf Institute to highlight Mississippi Sound research at March 14 public forum

Contact: James Carskadon

A picture of birds gathering on the beach at sunset on the Mississippi Sound
Mississippi State’s Northern Gulf Institute will highlight Mississippi Sound research projects at a public forum this Thursday in Gulfport. (Adobe stock photo)

GULFPORT, Miss.—Experts from the ֱ-led Northern Gulf Institute will share updates on current and future research related to the Mississippi Sound during a March 14 public forum in Gulfport.

The Mississippi Sound Coalition Scientific Forum will take place from 10 a.m.-noon on Thursday at the Knight Nonprofit Center and admission is free. Paul Mickle, NGI co-director and ֱ associate research professor, will lead a panel discussion that includes researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi and ֱ. Using funding from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, the scientists are studying ways to reduce the ecological impacts of opening the Bonnet Carré Spillway in the Mississippi Sound while maintaining flood control. The two-year project was requested by the Mississippi Sound Coalition.

Openings of the Bonnet Carré Spillway have become more common due to increased rainfall locally and nationally, causing flooding along the Mississippi River. Since 2010, the spillway has opened seven times, which is more than the previous 60 years, causing a greater need to examine alternative strategies for flood control that reduce ecological impacts and preserve Mississippi’s marine resources.

“The Northern Gulf Institute at ֱ is proud to lead this important research,” Mickle said. “Currently, the United States Army Corps of Engineers operates the Spillway on the Mississippi River for flood control. Partnering with the University of Southern Mississippi, a series of models will investigate potential options to operate the spillway to account for flood control and also minimize ecological impacts that have been plaguing the State of Mississippi and its marine resources for decades. This particular public event will include an explanation of the research and how it will be completed. The goals are to present scientifically confident solutions that the Army Corps of Engineers can incorporate with their current operational strategy.”

The multi-institutional team will develop models that account for nutrients and sediments that can cause harmful algae blooms, as well as water quality and ecological models for impacts on key industries such as oysters. The team’s findings will be externally peer reviewed before recommendations are submitted.

Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Northern Gulf Institute is a consortium of six complementary academic institutions and NOAA, all working together to address national strategic research and education goals. For more information, visit .

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