This IBA is one of the best remaining examples of a fully functioning coastal wetland ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico region. Grand bay is comprised primarily of tidal marine and brackish marshes, prized by many species of wildlife.

Ornithological Summary

Estuaries provide habitat for birds of conservation concern such as American Oystercatcher, Brown Pelican, Yellow Rail, Black Rail and Reddish Egret. Native American shell middens, and associated maritime forests, provide stopover habitat for a wide variety of migrants. Wet pine savannas support breeding Bachman?s Sparrows and Brown-headed Nuthatches as well as wintering grassland birds such as Henslow?s Sparrows, Le Conte?s Sparrows and Loggerhead Shrikes.

Conservation Issues

Estuaries are being monitored for water quality and possible loss of marsh area. Migration monitoring is planned to evaluate bird use of shell middens and associated forests. Implementation of a fire management plan, including regular prescribed burning, is important for restoration of wet pine savannas and associated breeding and wintering birds. Continued purchase of private in-holdings or the establishment of conservation easements on these lands is necessary for the full implementation of the fire management plan for the area.

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