Human settlements have had a negative impact on the marine environment, threatening to destroy habitats; causing sediment, marine debris, and other invisible contaminants to enter waterways; and reducing the quality and quantity of marine life. Our multi-disciplinary team designed a beach landscape that improves water quality and is resistant to storms. This beach has had 234 beach advisories in a decade. The solution recreates the original condition of tidal creek estuaries that formed as each watershed met the Sound, allowing water to meander between a series of sand dunes anchored by native trees and dune grasses. Vegetation along the edges of the waterway filters out contaminants and provides a protected area for juvenile finfish and shellfish. The overhead canopy creates a shady spot, provides habitat for migratory birds, and lowers the temperature of the water before it enters the Sound, which might otherwise be a source of stress. Nearshore, a series of artificial reefs creates a living shoreline, and a last line of defence to intercept sediment and pathogens.

The Beach Outfalls Competition was sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.  Three pilot projects will be built on the gulf coast and monitored to determine their effect on water quality.


Competition 2017

Program: Stormwater Outfall Treatment

Project Team: unabridged Architecture, Team Leader

Local Office Landscape, Landscape Architect

Dewberry, Stormwater Engineering and GIS

Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, Conservation Partner

USM School of Ocean Science and Technology, Coastal Engineering, Hydrographic Research, Paleotempestology