Project Summary

Title: Sustaining Coastal Development through Preserving Natural Resources and Promoting Nature Sea GrantBased Tourism

Partner: Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, Chris Boyd, Ph.D.

Duration of Project: November 2008- November 2009

Project Description: Mississippi State University’s Coastal Research and Extension Center realizes that as population growth continues in the coastal counties along the Northern Gulf of Mexico, it is essential that local decision-makers in the adjacent counties implement sustainable development policies.

A sustainable development strategy which will help communities add value to natural ecosystems is the promotion of nature-based tourism, such as horse trails, hiking and biking trails, designated bird watching areas, cultural heritage areas, golf, hunting and fishing. All of which are popular activities in our communities and thus deserve promotion, because we believe our communities will maintain the health and the well-being of our future generations through the preservation of our natural resources. 

Our upcoming extension and outreach efforts present knowledge and tools to city planners and officials that are essential to making responsible decisions concerning sustainable land use and natural resource protection. With collaboration from the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant consortium, this project will provide methods available to promote a nature based tourism industry within local communities.  Specific objectives include the creation of a Natural Resources Inventory Report and workshops highlighting the importance of protecting the valuable natural resources for future generations.

Objectives: The primary goal of this project is to present knowledge and tools to city planners and officials that are needed to make sustainable land use and coastal resource decisions. This project will provide the target audience with alternative methods available to promote a nature based tourism industry within local communities.  The specific objectives are as follows:

1.  Design, distribute, and analyze a sustainable coastal development needs assessment survey.
2.  Determine the most appropriate towns and cities to conduct workshops.
3.  Conduct sustainable growth workshops in Alabama and Mississippi.  A total of 2 workshops   
will be conducted in 1 upper coastal county in Alabama and 1 upper coastal county in
Mississippi based on the needs assessment survey and advice from project partners.
4.  Create a coastal communities webpage, sustainable development database, and publications.

Reports and Publications: