Nesting birds delay walkway completion

Biloxi Beach is the place to be…if you are a Least Tern. And, the small birds are nesting along the beach where construction is taking place on the seawall walkway project.

Workers on the waterfront walkway, a 1-mile, 10-feet-wide project stretching from Oak Street to the Small Craft Harbor, are adjusting to the resurgence of Least Terns nests while keeping progress moving.

Officials with the National Audubon Society assessed the colony last week and documented 111 nests, 20 flightless chicks, and 120 fledglings. The birds, which breed and nest on the beaches this time of year, are migratory birds that need to be taught by their parents to fish and then migrate back to Central America and Mexico.

“It’s actually the busiest colony on the coast right now, by far,” said Melinda Averhart, Mississippi Stewardship Manager for Audubon Delta-Mississippi. “What we have determined is that at least some of these birds from Ocean Springs have moved over to this Biloxi site.”

Yellow rope and signage mark the current nesting areas. In May 2020, a similar issue occurred when contractors discovered Least Terns nesting along the West Biloxi Boardwalk construction site.

Work on the seawall walkway began in 2021. The $2 million federally-funded project includes an 18-inch knee wall designed to lessen the blowing sand from reaching U.S. 90.

According to Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard, the project is 70 percent complete and now has a completion date of late summer.

News & notes: weekly report, council

The week that was: Get the behind-the-scenes details on the week that was in Biloxi. Weekly reports from the departments of Police, Fire, and Community Development are online for review. To see the reports from last week and an archive of weekly reports, click here.

City council: The Biloxi City Council held its first meeting of July 2022 Tuesday evening at Biloxi City Hall where they addressed a number of issues. To see the complete video of the meeting, click here.