Currently, most land within the boundary of Grand Bay NERR is owned by the United States government and the State of Mississippi. The Grand Bay NERR acquisition policy states that land will be purchased from willing sellers. The primary method of land acquisition will be fee simple purchases. However, Grand Bay NERR is open to the protection of land and natural resources through other means, such as conservation easements and donations. In the future, we anticipate that new lands will be acquired when adjacent property owners offer to sell the reserve or one of our partners the land and when adequate funds are available to make the purchase.
The Land Acquisition Plan for Grand Bay NERR provides a description of the information that should be considered when prioritizing land acquisitions within the boundary of Grand Bay NERR. In the event that multiple property parcels are available for purchase and funds are limited, the ranking criteria in this plan will be used to prioritize the value of a particular parcel, thereby providing a relatively objective means to choose among available parcels and allocate limited funds. The following ranking criteria will be considered when making decisions about land acquisitions or trying to estimate the relative value of natural resources on a parcel:
- habitat types present
- land value
- level of disturbance to the site
- contribution to landscape/ecosystem function
- benefit for public use
Through land acquisition activities, the reserve not only advances the goals of the NERR system, but also contributes to natural resource protection strategies promoted by other national, regional and local government programs and conservation organizations.