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Determining the cost-benefit of residential neighborhood relocation to establish a green infrastructure zone in coastal Mississippi

Pascagoula, Mississippi

Featured image for the project, Determining the cost-benefit of residential neighborhood relocation to establish a green infrastructure zone in coastal Mississippi

Aerial photo of the nearby Chevron Pascagoula Refinery in Pascagoula, MS

The Cherokee Concerned Citizens (CCC) in Pascagoula, Mississippi, are battling severe environmental pollution from nearby industrial sites, including a Superfund location. Formed in 2013, the community has faced increased instances of sickness and cancer. The community is also located in a high-flood-risk area. Their goal is to produce strong scientific evidence to make a case to the city for relocation. Although they face skepticism from agencies and political resistance, the CCC remains committed to ensuring health safety and environmental justice for their community.


CCC seeks expertise in decision support for flood risk management to help design a study specific to this community and its situation. The goal is to produce estimates of benefits associated with turning their neighborhood into a green infrastructure zone. Potential benefits include reduced insurance costs and reduced damages from catastrophic flooding, and better valuation for neighborhood real estate. The project would attempt to produce estimates of all or some subset of potential benefits (including reduction of damage costs due to abatement) in order to support decision making for flood risk management for the city of Pascagoula.

Timelines and Milestones

TBD (~1 to 1.5 years)

The collaboration between the community and the scientist(s) should start as soon as possible. The duration of the project will be through approximately May 2025. Anticipated phases of the project include:

  • Determine green infrastructure options for redevelopment of the neighborhood property to achieve optimal performance as a stormwater and climate change mitigation site
  • Evaluate the long term economic value of the green infrastructure site
  • Determine value of residential properties proposed for buyout 
  • Develop presentation materials for communicating the design and value of the green infrastructure alternative to offset costs of neighborhood buyout

About the Community

The Cherokee Concerned Citizens (CCC) in Pascagoula, Mississippi, are deeply engaged in a struggle to combat the environmental pollution besieging their neighborhood. Living perilously close to multiple polluting facilities, including Chevron Refinery, Gulf LNG, Bollinger, BP Enterprise, Destin Pipeline, Olex, and MS Phosphates Superfund, they are exposed to severe air and noise pollution.

Formed in 2013 after residents realized the extent of their shared concerns about noise, odors, and dust, the group found that these issues were causing significant health problems. In their quest for justice, the CCC has utilized PurpleAir monitors to measure particulate matter, capturing concrete data on the air pollution levels. Research indicates that the neighborhood is a cancer hotspot, with cancer risks 3.4 times higher than EPA acceptable levels. A health survey revealed an average of nine sick days per month per person, with at least 35 cancer cases and numerous other health issues reported. In the last five years, at least 23 residents have died from cancer or heart and lung diseases. Despite the CCC’s diligent efforts and involvement in a lawsuit with 50 households, responses from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been underwhelming. The ineffectiveness of engaging in the Title 5 permitting process has further compounded their frustrations.

CCC is exploring the possibility of convincing the city to relocate residents of the neighborhood and transform the area into an open space zone containing green infrastructure such as constructed wetlands. This green infrastructure zone could potentially bring benefits to a city which already has a complicated issue with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and their flood maps. Development of  this green infrastructure solution presents a beneficial alternative to the City rather than relying on a private sector buyout.

Project Team

Community Lead

Jennifer Crosslin is a lifelong resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and community organizer working to create a more equitable, safe, and sustainable Gulf Coast. She joined the Cherokee Concerned Citizens to provide organizing support to the residents of Cherokee subdivision in Pascagoula, MS in their efforts to protect their health and wellbeing against industrial pollution.


Community Science Hub Coordinator

Kathleen Kirkpatrick headshot

Kathleen Kirkpatrick

Kathleen Kirkpatrick is an environmental engineer and climate activist with a passion for helping rural communities in the South become more resilient and sustainable. She grew up mostly in Alabama, left the region to attend college and pursue a career in environmental protection, then returned in 2012 after her hometown of Tuscaloosa was devastated by a tornado. A dedicated advocate for environmental and social justice, Kathleen earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical and ocean engineering from the University of Rhode Island and pursued graduate studies in sustainable building and Biomimicry. With a diverse career ranging from environmental policy, sustainability education, and nonprofit management to movement politics, she continues to work collaboratively with others in the climate & environmental justice movement towards a Just transition for Southern communities. She serves on the board of directors for Coosa Riverkeeper, the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN), and the Alabama Center for Rural Organizing and Sustainable Solutions (ACROSS).


Community Science Fellow

Carl Frederick Aquino

Carl Fredrick Guico Aquino (he/him/his) is a Field Organizer for Climate Action PA, a climate action project of the League of Conservation Voters and former Legislative Intern for Senator Andrew Zwicker (New Jersey’s 16th Legislative District). He completed his Master of Science in Geosciences at Penn State specializing in geophysical climate risk assessment to support decision making under deep uncertainty (DMDU). He also spent two years as a Graduate Fellow for Science Advocacy and Diversity (GFSAD) where he led over 14 programs in science advocacy and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for science. As an undergrad, Carl double majored in Earth Sciences and Finance, and minored in Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences at Penn State. Carl is passionate about justice and equity considerations for climate change and decarbonization. Prior to becoming a scientist, Carl wrote music for film and television in Los Angeles, California.

Scientist Wanted

This project seeks a scientist to support community leaders in their effort to identify how a green infrastructure zone can be an effective and economically viable long term solution to increase resilience in a critical coastal industrial area and offset the cost of buying out current residents of the Cherokee neighborhood. The community welcomes scientists at any stage of their career who can help make the case that property values must take into account a rapidly changing climate and how nature-based methods for climate mitigation offset  expensive remediation efforts. 

Desired Skills and Qualifications: 

  • Experience with quantitative assessment of financial impacts of climate change.
  • Climate scientist with adaptation experience. 
  • Understanding of natural capital and conservation land economics. 
  • Ability to communicate complex scientific and economic information to a variety of stakeholders 
  • Experience and/or desire to participate in community education, outreach, and engagement 
  • Strong listening and collaboration skills 
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns 


Thriving Earth Exchange asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact to which they can contribute as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators. This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage. 

Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!