Pascagoula Parks and Recreation employees, in partnership with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Allen Engineering, and the Pascagoula River Audubon Center removed Chinese Tallow Tree, commonly known as the "popcorn" tree from BB Jennings Park. This is a first step in redeveloping and repurposing the park, in accordance with Pascagoula's Parks Master Plan. The popcorn tree is not native to this area, and its roots tend to choke out native plant species, disturbing the ecosystem. Restoration of this area is key to stabilizing the ecosystem and flood mitigation.
"Restoring natural plant species in this park will lead to improved storm water management," said Parks & Recreation Director, Darcie Crew. "Every aspect of this project is designed to improve the quality of the water in our natural sources and to bring this area back to its natural state in terms of vegetation and wildlife."
Pascagoula's Parks Master Plan identifies BB Jennings Park as a potential future site of the City's Nature Education Center because of its ability to showcase native flora and fauna. Additionally, the restoration project which is now underway will provide city officials and developers with a living laboratory in green infrastructure, which will be used for educational and demonstration purposes.
BB Jennings Park is located on Fair Street. This project is being funded by a grant secured through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, community partnerships, and the City of Pascagoula.