Follow On for Helios Ruehls , Inc. Report No. 1 

We apologize for the formatting errors we are working on this but all copy did post 
and we urge everyone to read these posts as they appear, We'll gt those formatting
Errors fixed 

Image result for images of the mississippi gulf coast beaches closed due to bacteria
Typical Storm Water Run Off Pipe Mississippi Gulf Coast Photo Credit SUN HERALD

Interim Notes Report No. 2 /post No.1



Image result for images of the mississippi gulf coast beaches closed due to bacteria
Typical Storm Water Run Off Pipe Mississippi Gulf Coast Photo Credit SUN HERALD

 I had intended this to be a more detailed report of the permit
 processing process. However after a very recent trip to the 
Mississippi Gulf Coast I found  that the most often asked question or
 objection to our proposed system is the  fact that the
 Army Corps of Engineersand Louisiana State Authorities plan 
massive flood water  diversion projects in the New Orleans area
 with a great potential for causing serious fresh water intrusion into 
Mississippi Gulf Coast especially Mississippi Sound. Among  those 
who understand the difference between a mostly salt water estuary
 and a mostly fresh water estuary this seems to be an unmitigated
 disaster . Much of the Mississippi Gulf Coast economy depends on
 remaining a mostly salt water estuary. 

 In our view the Louisiana projects require a quite different 
approach than the storm water run off pipe pollution issue.
 Even if the estuary would change to fresh water the mini marshes
of our storm water run off system would be necessary
to mitigate beach front pollution. However some of the vegetation
might have to be  replaced as the design is salt water tolerant.However
 many native plants of the estuary have a quite large range of salt to
 fresh water that they can thrive in. The beach
storm run off pipes number about 300 and run the length of
 the beach about 23 miles. Collectively they represent a macro problem
 of pollution mitigation.Individually each  pipe could be mitigated by
the labor of a garden club or similar  organization. The cross beach
 storm water run off problem is a Macro problem
 that lends it self to micro solutions. 

By contrast the Corps of Engineers projects in Louisiana present
 a mega problem to the Mississippi Sound environment and human 
communities. The mega problem that emerges from the mega projects 
can only be addressed by mega solutions mostly to be proposed and
 demanded by Mississippi State political office holders. The state must
 stand up to the Corps and Louisiana and demand that the fresh water intrusion
 issue be dealt with. What is needed to mitigate fresh water intrusion is not
 on the order of a true mega project.The Corps can and should do the 
necessary to mitigate fresh water intrusion into Mississippi Sound from 
new flood protection and marsh restoration projects in Louisiana.

Why The Corps Can Do It:

Where does the salt water go when massive amounts of fresh water 
intrude into  an estuary? It goes down deeper into the water column. 
The water becomes layered with the fresh water  on top and the 
salt water lower. It takes a long time for it to mix. 
But an estuary like Mississippi Sound with its many openings to 
the sea never  becomes truly a fresh water estuary. When the floods
subside salinity increases . Unfortunately during the period of massive 
fresh water intrusion salt water species flee. During this last fresh water
 event every thing from pelicans to bait fish disappeared and
years of damage was done to oyster beds. The Corps may argue that 
the environment recovers over time, but will the salt water based economy
 recover enough to withstand  the next fresh water invasion? Think of the beach
 closures and the  closures of the beach rental equipment small businesses most of
which lost an entire season  to the fresh water intrusion and resulting algae blooms
and some of whom will never recover. So what might the corps do to mitigate these
 Louisiana projects negative effects on  Mississippi sound?

 First there is a direct connection between the erosion of the St. Bernard Parish
 marshes  and the fresh water intrusions into Mississippi Sound. Just pouring
fresh water into the marsh will  not grow marsh substantial enough in time enough to
stem the danger. Mississippi  must insist that in Louisiana the Corps manage the
 "Mud Budget" for maximum marsh building. Water is not enough for marsh
 building the marshes need river sediment as well. The Corps should also be 
held responsible for some "mechanical marsh building" as in Christmas tree 
soil catchers and planted emergent vegetation. Much of the flood waters if 
the Corps projects are built will flow into the remains of the
 Saint Bernard parish marshes with a straight shot at Mississippi Sound.
 The corps must build marshes almost as fast as they build flood walls and 
pumping stations. 

 There was a period in geologic time when the St. Bernard Parish marshes were
in fact the delta of the Mississippi. Then the river moved north ward and
flowed through  what is now Lake Pontchartrain. A remnant of the old river channel
can still be detected at Pass Manchac between  Lake Pontchartrain and its sister fresh
water lake,  Lake Maurepas.  Old pieces of the river channel are also detectable at the
 Pass Rigolets and  Pass Chef Menteur  and it is through these  passes that much of
the recent flood water run off from  Lake Pontchartrain travels to reach Mississippi
 Sound. The river eventually build up a natural levee that forms most of Orleans
Parish, then crossed over it and started forming the channels that would eventually
 lead to the formation of the present bird foot delta.. Every few years the river would
 flow over the natural levee and send major fresh waters into Lake Pontchartrain.
Then man came to the region and eventually  the high levees were built up
 containing river between its banks most years.  Eventually the Corps  of Engineers
 found that they had to allow plenty of run off into Lake Pontchartrain various  marshes
 and the Atchafalaya River to prevent catastrophic flooding  at New Orleans.
The resulting relief channels are generally called "Spill Ways". It was
a record long opening of the Bonnet CarrĂ© Spillway into Lake Pontchartrain over the 
Spring and summer that caused the problems along the Mississippi beaches this in 2019.

 Because such opening create layered fresh water intrusions and the fresh water goes
 to the top effective barriers can be constructed or deployed to slow the intrusion.
Imagine what  might have happened if the Corps determined the depth of the fresh water 
column and deployed floating barriers between the Pontchartrain passes and "Lake" Borne?
 Had they done so the fresh  water intrusion into Mississippi Sound would have been less 
severe. Such booms should consist of a positively buoyant upper level with a negatively
 buoyant "skirt below. Such deployable barriers across the existing passes through the
 waters passed this year would not be expensive by Corps standards. There would be some necessary research to assure optimum performance, The unanswered question is how
 deep do the negatively buoyant "skirts" have to run at the passes in order to 
effectively impede a critical mass of fresh water? The good news is that the 
passes are not wide. so such barriers would not have to be very expensive in 
terms of length. The other good news is that such barriers wouldn't block drainage,
 simply allow more of the drainage to  consist of saltier water. 

So the the maintenance of some deployable  fresh water intrusion booms at the passes and their deployment during openings of  the Bonnet CarrĂ© Spillway could go a long way towards mitigation 
of the periodic fresh water intrusion problem. BUT the new Corps/ State of Louisiana plans are 
to create new spill ways some of which may be pointed directly at Mississippi sound 
across an inadequate marsh. It is inevitable that Mississippi sound will be affected by such projects in Louisiana. It is inescapable that Mississippi officials must pay attention and
 demand a seat at  the table when the Corps plans mega projects in Louisiana east of the Mississippi.  It is also inescapable that the voters of the Mississippi Gulf Coast need to
 hold their public officials responsible for doing that. The only citizen actions that can
 affect the fresh water intrusion from Louisiana are political. Citizens may write their 
congressional representatives, Louisiana's congressional delegation, and the Corps of Engineers;
 but the most effective action is to hold the Mississippi politicians feet to the fire for a place at the table when the Corps plans mega flood control  or navigation channel maintenance on or east of the Mississippi. 

A Few Points To Keep In Mind 

The present bird foot delta is your friend. The present delta unlike previous deltas in geologic
 time channels the river water south of Mississippi Sound and deposits it in the deep Gulf where 
the fresh water intermixes with the salt more rapidly. As long as the river isn't threatening to over top its banks the bird foot delta keeps the harmful levels of fresh water out of Mississippi,  MONITOR CAREFULLY ANY ATTEMPTS BY THE CORPS TO ABANDON THE SOUTHWEST PASS NAVIGATION CHANNEL.
A new entrance to the Mississippi north and east of SW Pass could put more fresh water in
 Mississippi Sound year round. There are groups in Louisiana advocating for such changes now. 
If it becomes inevitable that the shipping channel must be shifted north and east of the present bird 
foot delta, Mississippi should demand that the Corps establish with dredge spoils a string of marshy barrier islands from the  Chandelier Islands to near Cat Island to slow, and filter the constant fresh 
water discharge aimed at Mississippi Sound.  Dredge spoil barrier islands could also substitute for floating fresh water intrusion barriers at the Lake Pontchartrain passes .

Insist that the corps manage the mud budget in Louisiana. The St. Bernard marshes have deteriorated from lush marsh to a collection of lots of marshy islands, Some forms of fisheries
 have benefited from this condition and developed a constituency. These commercial fishermen
 should be compensated for the temporary or permanent damage to their livelihood but the
 marsh must receive replenishing mud not just fresh water all of which unslowed by marsh will 
run right into Mississippi Sound.

The new equivalents of new spill ways coming to Louisiana present a major problem
 that will not yield to garden club members wielding shovels as the storm water run
 off pipes will. This is a mega problem requiring political as well as engineering solutions .

OUR BOTTOM LINE: We have volunteered to help engineer a mitigation feature for the
 Storm Water run off pipe induced pollution along the beach. We can't really do much
 about the big  and future fresh water intrusion from major Corps projects. See 
your Mississippi State office holders. The possibility of another big fresh water intrusion
 event from Louisiana waters should in no way affect the desire to clean up the storm 
water run off problems along the beach. As we said in our first post we are proposing
 an incremental mitigation system for one problem on the Mississippi Beaches, storm water
 run off.

 The Details of the Permitting Process

Image result for images of the mississippi gulf coast beaches closed due to bacteria
Typical Storm Water Run Off Pipe Mississippi Gulf Coast Photo Credit SUN HERALD

We are attempting to negotiate a simpler , faster permit process. As things change we will 
post relevant changes here as "Report No.2 post NO._________". Eventually there will be 
a printed and bound version of this handbook but the electronic version which you are
 reading under construction will be up for quite some time after the print version is 


 (1) We think the smart route is to start with the Mississippi Secretary of State. The 
waters just a few yards out from the beach belong to the state and the Secretary 
of State is their "custodian" after a fashion. By obtaining a letter of "no objection"
 or better yet an endorsement from the Secretary of State FIRST any group wanting to
 build settlement marches has their way smoothed and avoids problems on the eve of
 Write to:

JACKSON, MS 39205-0136 
ATTN: (Name of current Secretary at the time you actually write

For follow up:
Phone: (601) 359-1633 

Next: Contact The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District at phone number 
251 690 2505 or main switch board at 251 690 3208. Our preliminary contacts with the
 Corps indicate that with only a few exceptions (near regulated marshes and shipping 
channels) this activity is covered by a "National General Permit"None the less because 
there are a few exceptions you should talk with some one there in charge of permits. Then 
follow up with a letter requesting a letter of confirmation that your activity is covered by
 the "General Permit". As long as your project is not particularly near the Gulf Port 
Channel or at the extreme east or west ends of the beach where the beach is near regulated
 wet lands we doubt that you will have anything but a pleasant experience dealing with the
 Corps. It my seem like a hassle to ask for letters of no objection from agencies with
 probably no permit requirements, but it is worth the effort. All agencies listed here have 
some sort of statutory authority over the areas where you will be working.  One inspector
 who happens along your activity could halt construction for critical days while checking 
your permitted status. In making signs to put up during construction list not only all 
permits by agency with permit numbers but also letters of no objection or endorsement,
 or notice of coverage buy general permit by agency and date of letter.

Then: Contact the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources: at phone 225 523 1109. 
This agency has state wide jurisdiction over such projects. In our preliminary talks with 
them they were very helpful. Preliminary contact indicated that they viewed the project
 as a "Wildlife Enhancement" and thought no permit  would be needed. If that continues
 to be the case you will want a letter of no objection. If a permit is required  the 
application forms are simple and the fees typically around $10.

Now things change with each municipality and /or county that abuts the section of 
beach you are planning to work.  Some have regulations and even enforcement agencies 
for the beach. None claim jurisdiction seaward of the low water line. Again if there is 
no claim of jurisdiction and permits are not required we advise that you write the mayor
or other chief official requesting a letter of no objection. In the case of Long Beach there
  is literally a "Sand Beach Department " 

Long Beach,  Mississippi

Sand Beach Authority 
Phone: 226 896 0055 

Sand Beach  advised us that they do not exercise jurisdiction seaward of the low water 
mark where most of your work will be . However you will have to cross the beach to get 
the job done. Such construction would be easier if you were allowed to go on the beach
 with a light pick up truck. Sand Beach Authority can help you in Long Beach. Elsewhere 
along the beach you should exchange some phone calls with the local police and state police
 so that their watch officers know where you are and what you are doing.Keep any 
return mail and reference it on your project's signage.

And Finally: You will have to have a formal permit from the US Fish and Wild Life Service

This will be the most comprehensive permit that you will need. It will be necessary to provide
 copies of all letters of no objection or endorsement and all permits along with drawings
of the project, dimensions, of the project , precise location (include map) , and a virtual
 environmental impact statement. Be sure to include the names of all plants used 
( best to include Latin names) and it is best to use only native plants. This permit
comes with fees generally but under some circumstances these may be reduced or waived
for certain groups or types of projects .  A key word to use in all written correspondence and
 in some of your phone work is "Wildlife Enhancement Project" . We know that the
primary purpose of the settlement marsh is pollution reduction. That in and of itself
is a "wild life enhancement" but don't expect that to be sufficient. You will have to explain how
 the marsh itself once established works to  improve wild life. One example is the nursery effect
 of even a small marsh. That can be mentioned generally but be prepared to account for the
effects on typical salt marsh creatures ( by common name and Latin name) , This is the permit 
that you may need help with from a local botany or marine biology instructor. The service
 provides some fill in the blank forms but you have to create the required attachments like
project drawings , maps, environmental impact information. Be sure to negotiate the fees in
advance and send a check in with your application for permit:

Peregrine falcon, Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Amanda Boyd / USFWS

Peregrine falcon, Nantucket National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Amanda Boyd / USFWS  

"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issues permits under various wildlife laws and treaties at different offices at the national, regional, and/or wildlife port levels.  (We do not issue hunting and fishing licenses.  Instead, those are issued by State wildlife agencies.) 
Permits enable the public to engage in legitimate wildlife-related activities that would otherwise be prohibited by law.  Service permit programs ensure that such activities are carried out in a manner that safeguards wildlife.  Additionally, some  permits promote conservation efforts by authorizing scientific research, generating data, or allowing wildlife management and rehabilitation activities to go forward. 
Permits are handled by permitting programs in International Affairs (Management Authority), Endangered SpeciesLaw Enforcement, and Migratory Birds. (Visit the National Wildlife Refuge web site for Special Use Permits.) For more detailed infromation, go to How to Obtain a PermitFAQs/Facts, or Application Forms. 0
Endangered Species regional offices administer native endangered and threatened species permits under the Endangered Species Act (except permits for import and export).  Permits are issued to qualified applicants for the following types of activities:  enhancement of survival associated with Safe Harbor Agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances, incidental take associated with Habitat Conservation Plans, recovery, and interstate commerce. Permits for import and export are issued by International Affairs (Division of Management Authority) below.
International Affairs(Management Authority) is responsible for administering CITES for the United States. We primarily issue permits to import and export species that are protected by CITES and by various other wildlife conservation laws. Some examples of other activities we permit are:  take of certain marine mammals; take and interstate and foreign commerce of non-native species protected by the Endangered Species Act, including a captive-bred wildlife registration; cooperative breeding programs for live exotic birds covered by the Wild Bird Conservation Act; and import and transport of injurious wildlife.
Law Enforcement administers permits at regional offices and certain port locations.     A permit or license may be issued to qualified applicants for the following activities:  to engage in business as a wildlife importer or exporter; import or export wildlife at other than an designated or authorized border or special port, and export and re-export certain CITES wildlife.
Migratory Bird regional offices administer permits for qualified applicants for the followingtypes of activities:  falconry, raptor propagation, scientific collecting, rehabilitation, conservation education, migratory game bird propagation, salvage, depredation control, taxidermy, and waterfowl sale and disposal.  These offices also administer permit activities involving bald and golden eagles, as authorized by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.  

Broadband Connectivity in rural America. Information about regulations is available here; information about right-of-way permits is here."

Here is the service's "How To " guidance on permits:

How to Obtain a Permit

Step 1.  Does my activity involve animals or plants?
    For activities involving animals continue to Step 2.
For any activities involving plants, continue to Step 3.
Step 2.  Does my activity with animals occur only within the United States or does it involve movement across international borders?
 If your activity with animals occurs completely within the United States, continue to Step 3.
•    If your activity with animals involves import, export, international travel, international mail, purchase from or sale to a foreign country, or other movement across international borders, click on International Wildlife and then return to Step 3 on this page.
Step 3.  Is the species protected?

    Check all the appropriate lists to determine if the animal or plant is protected. The different lists do not include all common names for every listed species. In addition, in some lists, the scientific names of some species are not individually shown on the list or in the database. A number of the listings are not at the species level, some are by larger groups of related animals or plants.
•     If you do not find the species name on one of the lists, confirm that the species is not listed by contacting a permit office (see Step 6).
•     If a species is protected by more than one law or treaty, the permitting requirements of all laws apply.
•     In most instances, you may submit a single application and obtain one permit when a species is protected by more than one law or treaty.
Step 4 Is the activity regulated or allowed under a permit?
The following table lists the basic activities that may be authorized by a permit under different laws and treaties, and their implementing regulations. The regulations define the types of activities that require permits, and provide specific information that may help you decide if your proposed activity needs a permit. Visit the Laws/Treaties/Regulations page to access text of the laws, treaties, and regulations. If you cannot find your activity in the table below, review keywords under the Application Forms page.
Activities that may be Authorized by a Permit
Law or Treaty
Endangered Species Act
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Foreign Commerce
Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
Injurious wildlife (Lacey Act)
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Wild Bird Conservation Act
Incidental Take
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
Endangered Species Act
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Interstate Commerce
Endangered Species Act
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Sale/Purchase or Offer for Sale/Purchase
Endangered Species Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Take (including salvage)
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
Endangered Species Act
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
Injurious Wildlife (Lacey Act)
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Step 5.  How do I obtain and complete a permit application?
•     Select the application form for the law or treaty and activity you want to conduct.
•     Review the regulations that apply to the type of permit you need.
•     Complete the form following the instructions.
•     Attach the application fee, if applicable.
•     Check that your application is completely filled out and signed. This will help avoid delays.
•     Some applications may require that you have a State or foreign permit before you can obtain a Federal permit.  You may need to contact your State wildlife or plant conservation agency and/or the CITES Management Authority of the foreign importing or exporting country to determine any additional requirements.
•     If you are applying for a protected species permit(s) and also for a port exception permit, submit only page 2 of the port exception permit along with your protected species application to the appropriate protected species permit office. You will only need to submit the application fee for the protected species permit.
•     Contact the issuing permit office (see the top of the application form) if you have questions that are not answered in the FAQs/Facts section of this website.
Step 6.  Where do I send my application? 
•     The address at the top of the application form indicates where you should submit the form.
•     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has four programs that issue permits. Each program handles a different category of permits, but some types of permits may be issued by more than one program.
Permit Programs
Permit Activity or Purpose
Law or Treaty
International Affairs (Division of Management
•     Cooperative breeding programs for exotic live birds
•     Import or export of listed species
•     Take and interstate and foreign commerce of non-native endangered and threatened species, includingCaptive-bred Wildlife Registration
•     Take and transport of marine mammals
•     CITES
•     Endangered Species Act
•     Injurious wildlife (Lacey Act)
•     Marine Mammal Protection Act
•     Wild Bird Conservation Act
Most permits are issued by the regional office where the activity will take place, with the exception of Interstate Commerce permits, which are issued by the office of the "lead region" of the Fish and Wildlife Service for the affected species. To determine which region is the lead region for the species of interest, search our endangered species database and click on the species' scientific name in the search results. The Lead region will be listed under the Current Listing Status Summary heading or by contacting your closest Regional Endangered Species office.
If your proposed activity will take place in multiple states that cross regional office lines, you should submit your application to the regional office that is responsible for the state in which you reside. As an example, if you reside in North Carolina, and your proposed activities will occur in Virginia, Indiana, Georgia, and Oklahoma, you would submit your application to the regional office responsible for the state of North Carolina, the Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia.
Endangered Species Act
•     Engage in business as a wildlife importer or exporter
•     Import or export wildlife at other than a designated port or authorized border or special port
•     Export and re-export of certain CITES wildlife
•    CITES
•    Endangered Species Act
•     Conservation Education
•     Depredation
•     Eagle Indian religious purposes
•     Falconry
•     Game bird propagation
•     Import or export of listed species
•     Raptor propagation
•     Rehabilitation
•     Salvage
•     Scientific collecting
•     Take of depredating birds
•     Taxidermy
•     Waterfowl sale and disposal
•    Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act
•    Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Step 7.  When will I receive my permit?
•          You should allow at least 60 days for review of most permit applications.
•          However, you should allow at least 90 days for review of marine mammal or endangered species applications.
•          We process applications as quickly as possible, in the order received.
•          If you need to check on the status of your application, please allow at least 10 days after you have submitted it before calling. Also, if applicable, have your permit file number available.

 WE HAVE FOUND NO CHANGES . When we do find changes we will post them on scroll
 just below this Post.  


Living Shorelines: Plants for Salt Marshes and Semi Protected Beaches

Image result for images of the mississippi gulf coast beaches closed due to bacteria

Typical Storm Water Run Off Pipe Mississippi Gulf Coast Photo Credit SUN HERALD

The first step in establishing a storm water runoff catchment marsh is selecting, then finding a source for the plants . In the case of the Mississippi Gulf Coast mainland beaches we are interested in the salt water tolerant plants of the "Low Marsh". Given the complexity of the permit process as we explained it earlier. it is imperative that plants native to North America and specifically to the Central Gulf Coast be used.The hardier the plant to salt and wave action the better since such plants need less hard structure protection. The less hard protective structure needed the simpler the plan that has to be subjected to the National Fish and Wild Life Service. Use of native plants also simplifies the environmental impact statement that has to be submitted. Finally the creation of a native plant marsh may well be interpreted as "wildlife habitat restoration" vice "Pollution abatement". "Pollution abatement" among the bureaucracy signals hard structures and the need for an engineering review and environmental impact statement. A minimalist planting of native plants signals the type of wildlife habitat restoration project that the various agencies involved may well grant a "general permit " for, meaning once the first project is permitted there is no further need for subsequent permits or at least a greatly simplified permit process may emerge. 

 After studying some of the native plants that could be used we have determined that some of the best choices are salt marsh plants that tend to grow parallel to the shore first, then outward, but do not colonize waters deeper than 18 inches. This inability to colonize in depths greater than 18 inches is highly advantageous. A marsh consisting of such marsh plants .will catch the storm water run off that is pretty much accumulating in the waters parallel to the beach. It will eventually spread seaward enlarging the catch basin area. But it will not generally colonize water depths greater than 18 inches. The State owns the beach between the high and low water mark. 18 Inches MAY be sufficient to keep the project well within the low water mark, greatly simplifying the permit process.. We have some legal research to do. There is a difference in law and in geography between various "low water" marks such as "mean low water Line" often seen in US coastal law, and  "Low .Water Line"  as used to determine "Base Lines" for the establishment of exclusive economic zones under the UN Law of the Sea Convention. We are not sure if there is an official depth involved and that we are pretty sure would vary with localities. 

Tidal Wetland and Beach / Dune Plants

Plants in the list below have been recommended for use in   marsh plantings or to stabilize tidal brackish or saltwater shorelines. Each plant has slightly different  salinity and wetness tolerances. Before going to the time, effort and expense of planting a mini marsh the salinity of the area must be ascertained for comparison to   salinity and moisture requirements for each plant. so they will be planted in the appropriate conditions. Those species for use in salinity greater than 15 ppt are marked (*).

Image result for Sawgrass images"
Salt water Saw Grass Photo Florida Department of State

Low Marsh Herbaceous
Juncus roemerianus *
Black needlerush
Peltandra virginica
Arrow arum
Pontedaria cordata
Spartina alterniflora *
Saltmarsh cordgrass
Spartina cynosuroides
Big cordgrass
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) pungens
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) robustus *
Saltmarsh bulrush
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) validus
Giant bulrush
High Marsh Shrubs
Baccharis halimifolia *
Groundsel bush
Iva frutescens *
Marsh elder
Morella (Myrica) cerifera *
Wax myrtle
Morella (Myrica) pensylvanica *
Northern bayberry

Juncus roemerianus *
Black needlerush
Peltandra virginica
Arrow arum
Pontedaria cordata
Spartina alterniflora *
Saltmarsh cordgrass
Spartina cynosuroides
Big cordgrass
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) pungens
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) robustus *
Saltmarsh bulrush
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) validus
Giant bulrush

High Marsh Shrubs

Baccharis halimifolia *
Groundsel bush
Iva frutescens *
Marsh elder
Morella (Myrica) cerifera *
Wax myrtle
Morella (Myrica) pensylvanica *
Northern bayberry

Beach/Dune Herbaceous

Ammophila breviligulata *
American beachgrass
Panicum amarum *
Bitter panicum
Panicum virgatum *
Switch grass
Uniola paniculata *
Sea oats
* salinity greater than 15 ppt

Useful Plant Links

Click on each habitat zone for native plants that could grow or could be planted there.

salt marsh cross sectionUpland BankSalt Meadow ZoneLow marsh plants

Plants for the Upland Bank - Salt Tolerant Native Plants for Upland Banks and Riparian Buffers (tolerates wind, airborne salt, salt in soil)

Deciduous Trees
Amelanchier canadensis
Shadbush, serviceberry
Celtis laevigatus
Diospyros virginiana
Liquidambar styraciflua
Sweet gum
Nyssa sylvatica
Black tupelo
Prunus serotina
Black cherry
Quercus alba
White oak
Quercus phellos
Willow oak
Quercus rubra
Red oak
Quercus stellata
Post oak
Quercus virginiana
Live oak
Taxodium distichum
Bald cypress
Evergreen Trees
Ilex opaca
American holly
Juniperus virginiana
Eastern red cedar
Magnolia virginiana
Sweetbay magnolia
Pinus taeda
Loblolly pine
Aronia arbutifolia
Red chokeberry
Baccharis halimifolia
Groundsel bush
Clethra alnifolia
Sweet pepperbush
Ilex glabra
Ilex vomitoria
Yaupon holly
Iva frutescens
Marsh elder
Morella cerifera
Wax Myrtle
Morella heterophylla
Southern Bayberry
Morella pennsylvanica
Northern Bayberry
Prunus maritima
Beach plum
Rhus glabra
Smooth sumac
Sambucus nigra ssp. Canadensis
Vaccinium corymbosum
Highbush blueberry
Viburnum dentatum
Andropogon virginicus
Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'
Switch grass, tall
Panicum virgatum 'Cloud Nine'
Switch grass, short
Panicum virgatum 'Rotstrahlbusch'
Switch grass, red leaves
Schizachyrium scoparium
Little Blue Stem
Spartina patens
Saltmeadow hay
Campsis radicans
Trumpet creeper
Celastrus scandens
Clematis virginiana
Virgins bower
Lonicera sempervirens
Coral honeysuckle
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Virginia creeper
Passiflora incarnata
Aquilegia canadensis
Aster novae-angliae
New England aster
Asclepias tuberosa
Echinacea purpurea
Purple coneflower
Hibiscus moscheutos
Rose mallow
Kosteletzkya virginica
Seashore mallow
Liatris pilosa v. pilosa (graminifolia)
Grass-leaved blazing star
Liatris squarrosa
Blazing star
Lupinus perennis
Opuntia humifusa
Prickly pear cactus
Rosa carolina
Carolina rose
Rosa palustris
Swamp rose
Rudbeckia hirta
Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia fulgida
Orange coneflower
Solidago sempervirens
Seaside goldenrod
Yucca filamentosa
Common Yucca

Upland Coastal Native Plants (need some protection from wind, salt spray)

Acer rubrum
Red maple
Carya alba
Mockernut Hickory
Carya glabra
Pignut Hickory
Cercis canadensis
Eastern redbud
Cornus florida
Magnolia grandiflora
Southern magnolia
Sassafras albidum
Ulmus americanus
American elm
Hamamelis virginiana
Witch hazel
Ilex decidua
Ilex verticillata
Rhus copallinum
Winged Sumac
Rhus hirta
Staghorn Sumac
Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis
Vaccinium corymbosum
Highbush Blueberry
Viburnum prunifolium
Black haw, sweet haw
Bouteloua curtipendula
Sideoats Grama
Chasmanthium latifolium
River oats
Dichanthelium commutatum
Variable panic grass
Muhlenbergia capillaris
Gulf Muhly
Panicum amarum
Beach Panic Grass
Schizachyrium scoparium
Little Blue Stem
Sorghastrum nutans
Indian Grass
Spartina patens
Saltmeadow Hay
Tridens flavus
Bignonia capreolata
Gelsemium sempervirens
Carolina jasmine
Aster novi-belgii
New York aster
Aster patens
Late purple aster
Baptisia australis
Blue False Indigo
Chrysopsis mariana
Maryland Goldenaster
Coreopsis lanceolata
Lance-leaved Coreopsis
Coreopsis tripteris
Tall Coreopsis
Coreopsis verticillata
Echinacea pallida
Pale purple coneflower
Eupatorium coelestinum
Mist flower
Eupatorium perfoliatum
Purple boneset
Eupatorium purpureum
Helianthus giganteus
Giant sunflower
Heliopsis helianthoides
Rudbeckia triloba
Thin-leaved coneflower
Sisiyrinchium angustifolium
Blue-eyed grass (iris family)
Solidago bicolor
Solidago odora
Sweet goldenrod
Solidago rugosa
Rough-stemmed goldenrod
Solidago speciosa
Showy Goldenrod


Tidal Wetland and Beach / Dune Plants

Plants in this list can be used for marsh plantings or to stabilize tidal brackish or saltwater shorelines based on salinity and wetness tolerances. Check the salinity and moisture requirements for each plant so they will be planted in the appropriate conditions. Those species for use in salinity greater than 15 ppt are marked (*). (pdf version)
Low Marsh Herbaceous
Juncus roemerianus *
Black needlerush
Peltandra virginica
Arrow arum
Pontedaria cordata
Spartina alterniflora *
Saltmarsh cordgrass
Spartina cynosuroides
Big cordgrass
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) pungens
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) robustus *
Saltmarsh bulrush
Schoenoplectus (Scirpus) validus
Giant bulrush
High Marsh Shrubs
Baccharis halimifolia *
Groundsel bush
Iva frutescens *
Marsh elder
Morella (Myrica) cerifera *
Wax myrtle
Morella (Myrica) pensylvanica *
Northern bayberry
Beach/Dune Herbaceous
Ammophila breviligulata *
American beachgrass
Panicum amarum *
Bitter panicum
Panicum virgatum *
Switch grass
Uniola paniculata *
Sea oats
* salinity greater than 15 ppt

Useful Plant Links

Here are some potential choices for a single plant marsh: 

Smooth Cordgrass: Spartina alterniflora
Is probably one of the best choices. Smooth, or salt marsh cordgrass is the most common salt marsh plant from th eouter banks to the Carolinas to the Texas Gulf Coast. The plant t forms 1- to 8-foot-tall meadows that grow in the low marsh that is regularly flooded. Lush and green in the warmer months, smooth cordgrass becomes golden-brown in the fall and dies back in the winter. 

Saw GrassCladium jamaicens
Often found intermixed or adjacent to Smooth Cord Grass Saw grass grows to about 6 or 7 feet tall. The plant has  long, slender, narrow leaves that look like tall blades of grass. These leaves are stiff and tough, with tiny saw teeth around the edges. The top of saw grass has many branches and branchlets.

Glasswort or PickleweedSalicornia spp.
Glasswort is found throughout the marsh. It can be  mixed in with cord grass or on the mud flats. Glasswort grows low to the ground (rarely over 2 feet tall) and has short fleshy green stubby spikes extending from a main stem. Glasswort looks like long green pipe cleaners attached to a long stem. Three species are found in coastal marshes, and one turns pink in the fall.

 Salt (or Spike) GrassDistichlis spicata
Salt grass is a short, green, wiry grass that lives in irregularly flooded salt marshes, brackish marshes,which has the advantage of being short and thus being less objectionable to that portion of the public that might demand a scenic easement  from the taller grasses. Unfortunately it is not as salt or wave tolerant as the taller grasses commonly). establishing and maintaining this plant would require some hard structures and the attendant requirement for plans, drawings, environmental impact statements etc, However once a protective barrier of one or more of the taller grasses is established this grass may well colonize behind the tall grass barrier.  This plant is often  found among the salt meadow cord grass above the high tide line or in pure stands in wet depressions. Flowers from June through October. 

Salt Reed or Giant CordgrassSpartina cynosuroides
Salt reed is a member of the same family as salt marsh cordgrass. This grass has many features in common with salt marsh cord grass.  The  name of the plant suggests that  this grass grows taller (up to 10 feet) and thicker than Spartina alterniflora.

Turtle grass (thalassia testudinum) is a sea grass that typically grows about 16 feet into the ocean.It is mostly a bottom dweller. This plant adds depth to storm water run off applications and is mostly invisible to the casual observer.  It produces a small, yellow flower, and germination from turtle grass usually takes 14 days. Some turtle grass will grow as far as 45 feet into the ocean's floor.This plant is highly salt water tolerant. 

Awl-leaf Arrowhead: Sagittaria subulata This plant can be found along brackish water shore lines and exhibits a fair amount of resistance to salty conditions. It almost looks like a bulb plant and would be easy to plant but might need dome protection to survive. 

Check out : Mississippi Aquatic Plants Website  http://jcho.masgc.org/

 Regardless of which plants or mix of plants appeals to the planners one can only plant those plants that are readily available. In our next installment we will look at sources for plants. Sources may limit the plant choices described above.