Workers at The Pascagoula River Audubon Center are creating a quarter-acre of marsh — not an easy task — and now they want Christmas trees as part of the process.
Used Christmas trees, that is, after you’re through with them at the end of December.
If you want your tree to be part of the marsh-building process at Rhodes Bayou near the Audubon Center in downtown Moss Point, though, don’t flock the tree or add tinsel.
They need the trees free of anything that’s not biodegradable. Just make sure you can completely remove the lights and ornaments you add.
They’ll need 50 to 100 trees. If you can drop them off at the Audubon property at 5107 Aruthur Street, even better. No artificial trees, please.
Making marsh faster
Mark LaSalle, director of the Audubon Center, has been successful with marsh building in the past.
He has worked on a 20-year project on property near the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery that is built up and is growing marsh grass.
That project is near the open Mississippi Sound, however, and involves a rock fence that let wave and water action push over the rocks and drop the sediment behind them.
The water movement is much slower on Rhodes Bayou, where Audubon is working to create the quarter-acre just south of the Dantzler Street bridge.
It has a wooden fence to stop the water and let the sediment drop out, but the process has been very slow.
The idea will be to put the dried trees behind the fence to help the sediment drop out of the water faster.
The trees will rot
And after the trees have done their job, LaSalle said, they will rot away.
The project is part of a multi-agency grant. It is also part of an agreement with Jackson County to create the marsh as mitigation for wetlands disturbed when the county raised the bridge 3 feet at Audubon’s request.
LaSalle said Rhodes Bayou has been changed a great deal by saltwater intrusion. He said the cypress trees that stand dead along the edges of the bayou died 40 to 50 years ago, when dredging and other factors caused the intrusion.
The bayou used to be half as wide.
Nearby Beardslee Lake lost 40 acres of marsh during that time, he said. This marsh project is a small contribution to restoring that loss.