Bellefontaine Marsh Preserve
This preserve located in Jackson County, consists of 1,305 acres and is represented largely by a marine, mesohaline marsh/dune system in that it receives no major freshwater input. The marsh area lies between a coastal oak/pine forest and a narrow (5-10 m) beach dune system. It is composed of a mosaic of: low, mid-level, and high marsh zones; shallow-water ponds; and forested relic-dune/islands. The low marsh is dominated by smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), occurring in both narrow bands along the creeks and as larger patches. The mid-marsh consists of three general types, dominated by needle rush (Juncus roemerianus), olneyi bulrush (Scirpus olneyi), or big cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides) in pure or nearly pure stands. The Scirpus zone contains what appear to be numerous "eaten-out" areas where either muskrat or waterfowl had eaten the plants and tubers. The relic dune/islands contain large live oak trees. The combination of Scirpus dominated marsh areas and shallow-water ponds makes this area a prime waterfowl overwintering area. Lands adjacent to the Bellefontaine Marsh Coastal Preserve are either privately, locally, state or federally owned. Much of the property is considered tidal wetlands, and is owned by the State. Poorly working septic systems and encroaching construction threaten the ecological integrity .

Rare/Endangered Species:
  • Pelecanus erythrorhynchos American White Pelican
  • Tyrannus dominicensis Gray Kingbird
  • Malaclemys terrapin Diamondback Terrapin
  • Alligator mississippiensi American Alligator
  • Phaseolus sinuatus Sandhill Bean
  • Juniperus silicicola Southern Red Cedar
  • Neotropical Migrants
Recreational uses include fishing, birding, and boating.
For Comments and/or Additional Information on Bellefontaine Marsh, email the Coastal Preserves Manager.

Contact Bellefontaine Marsh Preserve

MS Department of Marine Resources
1141 Bayview Avenue
Biloxi, Mississippi  39530
Phone: (228) 374-5000
Toll Free: (800) 374-3449
Fax: (228) 374-5005


Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • Mississippi

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator