Delta Conservation Topic for Hybrid Oxford Science Cafe

Victoria Simek, a technician with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service Water Quality and Ecology Unit, collects water from the Mississippi Delta for the project Farmer to Farmer on migratory shorebirds. UM biologist Jason Hoeksema will discuss the efforts as part of his Science Cafe presentation on April 19 at Heartbreak Coffee in Oxford. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Mississippi — Conservation in the Mississippi Delta is the subject of a hybrid Oxford Science Cafe featuring a University of Mississippi biology professor who studies ways to balance the need for farmland with the benefits of sustaining wetland habitats.

The program will be held in person on Tuesday, April 19 at Heartbreak Coffee, 265 North Lamar Ave., Suite G, and hosted on Zoom starting at 6 p.m. Ole Miss Biologist Jason Hoeksema plans to discuss “Science and Conservation for Birds and Humans Working Lands in the Mississippi Delta.

“The Mississippi Delta was historically a vast wetland, covered in flooded forests, swamps and oxbow lakes,” Hoeksema said. “These wetland habitats have provided essential ecosystem services, including flood control and wildlife habitat.

Jason Hoeksema

“Today most of these wetlands have been drained or diverted for agriculture, which provides food and is a key economic base in our region.”

Questions to be addressed during Hoeksema’s 40-minute conference/webcast include whether we can conserve and restore wetland ecosystem services while maintaining sustainable agricultural production.

“Delta Wind Birds is an Oxford-based not-for-profit conservation association working to conserve existing wetlands and, in particular, to create temporary wetlands on private land in the Delta, including agricultural farms “, said Hoeksema. “Scientists from the University of Mississippi, USDA-ARS and Mississippi State University are partnering with DWB to study how these temporary wetlands can benefit migratory waterbirds, conserve soils , reduce downstream nutrient pollution and improve crop yields.”

To view the program online, visit https://olemiss.zoom.us/j/99989536748. A link to the recorded lecture will then be posted at https://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe/.

For more information about the Oxford Science Cafe program, visit https://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe/.

Jessica C. Bell