Ship Island (formerly known as East Ship and West Ship islands) has been restored as part of the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program (MsCIP) to better protect a wild and dynamic environment that is shaped by wind and water and treasured by people.
Ship Island Project Background
Sculpted by winds, waves, and currents that influence sand erosion, deposition, dune formation, overwash, inlet formation, and shoreline migration, the Mississippi barrier islands are important to our natural, historical, and cultural landscapes. The barrier islands create and maintain sensitive ecosystems that support diverse habitats for wildlife such as birds and sea turtles, while also reducing storm damage to our coastal communities. They also serve as time capsules containing pieces of our human past such as the historic Fort Massachusetts.
Visitors to the newly restored Ship Island during the restoration project may see boats and barges offshore. These vessels are part of the fleet responsible for dredging sand from offshore areas and pumping it into the restored area. Large pipes on the south side of the barrier island transport sand from dredges to the restoration areas. The sand and water mixture pouring from the pipes may not look like typical beach sand, but, given time for the water to run off and the sand to dry out, the difference between the original sand and the new sand will be unrecognizable. Project planners and environmental experts use a systematic and carefully reviewed process to assure that imported sand is compatible to existing island sources.
For safety reasons during construction, public access to the area will not be allowed, either by foot or boat. Project personnel will also be on-site to restrict access within the project zone to authorized personnel only. The facilities including pier, concessions, Fort Massachusetts, and the south beach in the area formerly known as West Ship Island remain open to visitors during its regular season.
Last updated: May 22, 2019