Grand Bay Savanna Preserve
This bioreserve is contained in Mississippi and Alabama. The boundary line for this 26,900-acre preserve is drawn open ended going across the state line. The southern boundary follows the outermost extent of the salt and brackish marsh communities. The northern and western boundaries follow the Escatawpa River and portions of the abandoned course of the Escatawpa River. The acreage sited is an estimated figure. This preserve is one of the largest expanses of Gulf Coastal Savanna remaining in relatively undisturbed condition. There are open herbaceous communities dominated by grasses and sedges with scattered/clumped shrubs and trees. During the wet season the water table is at or near the surface and during the dry season natural wild fires occur. The mesohaline area of the Bangs Lake Estuary consists of a mosaic of low, mid-level, and high marsh, including salt pans. The low marsh is dominated by smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) that may occur as narrow bands along creeks and channels and as larger patches of tall (1 m) and short (20-30 cm) plants. The mid-level marsh is composed primarily of needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) mixed with saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) and dominates the area. The upper portion of Bangs Lake consists primarily of oligohaline mid-level needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) dominated marshes. Narrow disjunct bands of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) occur along the creeks and channels. The mesohaline area of West Bangs Lake estuary consist of a mosaic of low, mid-level, and high marsh, including salt pans. Pure stands of Distichlis may be found scattered across the marsh along with narrow salt pans associated with "high spots" in the marsh. Gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae) is commonly found along the edges of these pans. The oligohaline, Upper Bangs Lake/Grand Bay area consists primarily of mid-level needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) dominated marshes. Narrow, disjunct bands of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) occur along the creeks and channels. High marsh salt pans are also present and include rush (Juncus), saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), and gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae). This is a high priority site. It supports numerous orchids and insectivorous plants and has high species diversity having 20-25 (36) species in .25 square meters. Poorly working septic systems and encroaching construction are threats to ecological integrity. Boaters and anglers use the area on occasional and seasonal basis for waterfowl hunting (sparingly) and fishing.

Archaeological Features:
Indian shell middens 

Rare/Endangered Species
Aimorhila aestivallis Bachman's Sparrow
Enneacanthus gloriosus Bluespotted Sunfish
Malaclemys terrapin pilea Mississippi Diamondback Terrapin
Alligator mississippiensis American Alligator
Nerodia clarkii clarkii Gulf Salt Marsh Snake
Cambarellus dinimutus Least Crayfish
Ilex myrtifolia Myrtle Holly
Coreopsis nudata Georgia Tickseed
Marshallia tenuifolia Narrow-Leaf Barbara's Buttons
Pieris phyllyreifolia Climbing Fetter-Bush
Hypericum myrtifolium Myrtle-Leaved St. Johnswort
Quercus minima Dwarf Live Oak
Pinguicula planifolia Chapman’s Butterwort
Sageretia minutiflora Tiny-Leaved Buckthorn
Sarracenia leucophylla Crimson Pitcher-Plant
Sarracenia purpurea Side-Saddle Pitcher-Plant
Agalinis aphylla Coastal Plain False-Foxglove
Agalinis filicaulis Thin Stemmed False-Foxglove
Lycium carolinianum Carolina Wolf-Berry
Sapindus marginatus Florida Soapberry
Carex striata Walter's Sedge
Rhynchospora tracyi Tracy's Beakrush
Eriocaulon texense Texas Pipewort
Cleistes divaricata Spreading Pogonia
Platanthera blephariglott Large White Fringed Orchid
Platanthera integra Yellow Fringeless Orchid
Spiranthes longilabris Giant Spiral Ladies'-Tresses
Ophioglossum petiolatum Stalked Adders-Tongue
For Comments and/or Additional Information on Grand Bay Savanna, email the Coastal Preserves Manager.    

Contact Grand Bay Savanna 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:
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator