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Rotten Bayou Watershed sign installed in Diamondhead
By Echo Staff
Jun 10, 2016, 20:15

Two employees from the City of Diamondhead's Public Works Department and Scott Thomas, environmental scientist and resident of Diamondhead.

Residents and visitors to Rotten Bayou Watershed in Hancock and Harrison Counties will now start seeing road signs indicating that they have entered the watershed.
The first sign was installed by the City of Diamondhead’s Public Works Department on Wednesday at the entrance to the Diamondhead community. Five more locations have been approved throughout Hancock and Harrison Counties and installation should begin shortly.
The signage was designed as part of a planning and community outreach project for Rotten Bayou Watershed that was funded by a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Nonpoint Source Branch under the provisions of Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act along with State and local match. The project was facilitated by The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. While the grant funding ended in the fall of 2015, both the Land Trust and Design Studio, along with MDEQ, have remained active in the watershed. The Rotten Bayou Watershed Partnership has continued to meet under the leadership of Scott Thomas, a local environmental scientist and resident of Diamondhead. “The Land Trust is pleased to have been of assistance in facilitating this project with grant funds and especially happy to see Scott and the Watershed Implementation team are following through so this project can reach its full potential,” says Judy Steckler, Executive Director for the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.
Rotten Bayou is a tributary of the Bay of St. Louis that has been getting a lot of attention, particularly from Diamondhead, in terms of its potential for nature tourism and recreation. The City currently has grant funding to develop the Bayou as a blueway and install trails and kayak access points. The watershed itself extends into Hancock and Harrison Counties meaning that everything that happens in that larger area of land has the potential to affect the water quality of Rotten Bayou. The Rotten Bayou Watershed road signs are part of an effort to make people more aware of the impacts they have on the waterway. “These signs may seem like a small measure, but people will read them and think about this area in terms of the watershed and the bayou where everything leads, and if that leads to more careful management of trash or fertilizer use or erosion, that is a good outcome,” commented Thomas.
The first Rotten Bayou Watershed road sign was appropriately located adjacent to the Diamondhead duck pond where, in the summer of 2015, with funding and management provided by the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, the Diamondhead Property Owners Association worked to naturalize the outflow and improve water quality entering Rotten Bayou. Informational signage at the deck overlook serves to inform community members about the project. Three levels of planting zones were used and native vegetation was planted to filter water, reduce sediment, and stabilize soil. While these native growing areas can be slow to take off, in a matter of a few growing seasons the landscape should flourish, not only improving water quality, but providing habitat for pollinators and a beautiful park for the community.
Follow the progress of the Rotten Bayou Watershed Partnership on facebook at facebook.com/rottenbayou.


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