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Watershed - Herman Murrah and the Pascagoula River Swamp


Herman Murrah and the Pascagoula River Swamp

By Davy Murrah
Hardcover : 9781496851949, 128 pages, 1 b&w illustration, May 2024
Paperback : 9781496852700, 128 pages, 1 b&w illustration, May 2024

Table of contents

Chapter One: Herman’s Family
Chapter Two: Early Formative Events
Chapter Three: Living Off the River
Chapter Four: Living Off the Swamp
Chapter Five: The Teenage Years and Becoming a Man
Chapter Six: The Game Warden Years
Chapter Seven: Boys and Their Toys
Chapter Eight: New Owners of the Swamp
Chapter Nine: Managing the Swamp
Chapter Ten: The Beginning of the End
Chapter Eleven: Put Out to Pasture

How one heroic preservationist saved a natural wonder from destruction


The Pascagoula River is the largest unobstructed river in the contiguous United States. Because of this lack of restraint, the river has been left to rise and fall naturally with the seasons, overflowing annually into the adjoining bottomland forest. This phenomenon makes the Pascagoula River one of the wildest rivers, surrounded by some of the most ecologically diverse woodlands, in North America.

Herman Murrah (1935–2002) lived his entire life on the banks and in the swamp surrounding this river in southeast Mississippi. Watershed: Herman Murrah and the Pascagoula River Swamp recounts pivotal moments in Herman’s life and in Mississippi’s conservation history more broadly. In this book, Herman’s eldest son, Davy, details the adventures that continue to inspire young conservationists in the fight to protect our remaining natural ecosystems.

As a young adult, Herman worked as a game warden in the Pascagoula River Swamp. When the Pascagoula Hardwood Company, then owners of the swamp, decided to sell the vast tract of forest for clearcutting, Herman was incensed. Determined to protect this natural wonder, Herman teamed up with other visionaries to persuade the State of Mississippi to purchase the land and preserve it in perpetuity to the benefit of future generations of humans and wildlife alike. Eventually, the state agreed and finalized the purchase. Herman was appointed area manager for the upper portion of the newly designated Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area. He dedicated the remainder of his life to preserving, protecting, and improving the swamp for the good of south Mississippi.


"Considered the ‘crown jewel’ of state-owned wildlife management areas in the United States, the Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area is a national treasure in the league of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Denali. Not only does Watershed offer keen insights into the life of Herman Murrah, a key figure in the establishment and development of the Pascagoula River WMA, it also provides valuable historical perspectives on the last unmodified large river system in the contiguous US."

- Donald C. Jackson, author of A Sportsman’s Journey