Deer Island Preserve
The primary boundary of this 674-acre preserve located in Harrison County, follows the beach along the island. This island in the Gulf has white beaches and tall pines in the interior with marshes to the east. This area contains a mosaic of elevation zones within a dike area. The southern border consists of a narrow natural beach/dune; a 1-3 m wide band of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) lies between the dune and beach. The remaining three sides consist of a 3-5 m high levee, formed from the excavation of channels through the marsh. This levee has been breached in at least three locations, which allows hydraulic exchange with the canals and the sound. Two heights (tall, creek-bank, 1-1.5 m; short form, 20-30 cm) of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) form the low marsh. Pure strands of saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) and salt-meadow grass (Spartina patens) form high marsh areas. Needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) and a mixture of saltgrass (Distichlis) and saltmarsh bulrush (Scirpus robustus) form mid-level zones. This unique location provides excellent feeding, resting, and wintering habitat for numerous types of migratory bird species, such as the Brown Pelican and cormorants. The island supports the following 5 species of animals: in the marsh; American Alligator and Mottled Duck. Interior: Osprey, Loggerhead Turtle, and Diamond Terrapin. This preserve is also known as a rookery for the Great Blue Heron.  Lands within this Coastal Preserve are privately owned.  Boaters and anglers use the area.
Rare/Endangered Species:
Pelecanus occidentalis Brown Pelican
Accipiter striatus Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Falco sparverius American Kestrel
Falco columbarius Merlin
Charadrius alexandrinus Snowy Plover
Charadrius melodus Piping Plover
Haematopus palliatus American Oystercatcher
Sterna antillarum Least Tern
Juniperus silicicola Southern Red Cedar
For Comments and/or Additional Information on Bayou Portage Preserve, email the Coastal Preserves Manager.

Contact Deer Island 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