People have harvested oysters in Mississippi’s Grand Bay for more than 4,000 years. Today, that legacy is at a crossroads. Increased pollution from residential and industrial development and overtaxed wastewater treatment systems is flowing into the Bay with potentially far-reaching effects on ecosystems, human health, and local economies. To protect human health and identify areas at risk for habitat degradation and fisheries loss, local decision-makers need more information about the extent of these impacts on local ecosystems. In response to this need, the Grand Bay Reserve worked with Dauphin Island Sea Lab in a 2010 Collaborative Research project to use Grand Bay as a benchmark estuary to define the legacy effects of land use change on water quality, historic and modern oyster populations, shifts in nitrogen sources, and pathogen accumulation.
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