Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) - Adaptive Management and Monitoring Planning and Implementation

Science Center Objects

 The Mississippi barrier islands are dynamic coastal landforms that are the first line of defense between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi mainland coast. These islands are experiencing changes in structure (land area and habitat) and geomorphic processes (erosion and accretion) due to frequent intense storms, relative rise in sea level, and changes in sediment supply. A long-term monitoring and adaptive management (MAM) program is being integrated into the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program barrier island restoration project. 

Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) - Adaptive Management and Monitoring Planning and Implementation
A long-term monitoring and adaptive management (MAM) program is being integrated into the MsCIP barrier island restoration project. 

The Science Issue and Relevance: Restoration of coastal ecosystems has emerged as a high priority because of the ecosystem services they provide combined with their vulnerability to climate change impacts. The Mississippi barrier islands are dynamic coastal landforms that are the first line of defense between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi mainland coast. These islands are experiencing changes in structure (land area and habitat) and geomorphic processes (erosion and accretion) due to frequent intense storms, relative rise in sea level, and changes in sediment supply. Long-term loss of the barrier islands threatens the highly productive Mississippi Sound estuarine ecosystem and exposes mainland Mississippi coast and its associated habitats to increasing saltwater intrusion and damage from future tropical storms. To reduce the risk for vulnerable areas, under the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP), the USACE is investing in barrier island restoration at Ship Island through direct sand placement of approximately 22 million cubic yards to restore island structure and enhance sand supply to the littoral transport system.

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: A long-term monitoring and adaptive management (MAM) program is being integrated into the MsCIP barrier island restoration project. The incorporation of a science-based approach into the large-scale restoration effort includes the development of a conceptual ecological model, the identification of risk and uncertainties, performance measures, objectives, success criteria, monitoring parameters, and potential adaptive management actions. The developed MAM Program will allow the USACE to assess short and long-term impacts, restoration progress, and provide the information needed to adjust project performance to meet project goals and objectives. WARC has been leading the development and implementation of the MAM program programs.

Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) - Adaptive Management and Monitoring Planning and Implementation
The Mississippi barrier islands are the first line of defense between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi mainland coast. 

Specific tasks include:

  • Co-leading monitoring and adaptive management program development and implementation;
  • Planning, development, coordination, revisions, and refinement of the MAM plan;
  • Maintain MAM budget and schedule;
  • Development of conceptual ecological model;
  • Acting as a monitoring and AM liaison to incorporate knowledge and lessons learned from other programs and facilitate the transfer of science information between programs and agencies;
  • Consulting and advising on issues related to MAM during the feasibility and preconstruction engineering and design phases to ensure AM principles are incorporated in the project design.

Future Steps: Continued development and implementation of MAM Program for the MsCIP.