Otter Spotter - Community Science Monitoring COMING SOON!

Location: Mississippi coast, bays, and bayous

Coordinating Agency: Mississippi Master Naturalists

Contact Name: Mandy Rigsby

Contact Email:


Become an otter spotter! Did you know we have river otters here on the Mississippi coast? Not many folks do! Help us fill gaps in understanding the North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) population in the local bays and surrounding tributaries in coastal Mississippi. The goal of this project is to identify river otter population conditions by engaging the public in river otter monitoring. River otter presence and location data will be obtained by the community scientists (the public) through a “Report an Otter Sighting” initiative.

The "why": River otters function as indicators of watershed health as they require natural terrestrial habitat and good water quality to thrive. As apex predators in these areas, river otters play an important role in maintaining biodiversity of local food webs. The ecological and economic benefits of estuarine habitats, such as in Biloxi Bay, are recognized to be vital to coastal ecosystems and communities. However, these habitats are threatened due to anthropogenic and natural stressors. Investigation of river otter habitat relationships in the bay can shed light on habitat degradation and the persistence of pollution throughout their habitat.

This project is in it's early planning stages. To stay in the loop with announcements and volunteer opportunities, please email Mandy Rigsby (