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Applications available for new round of Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund projects

Photo courtesy of MS Outdoor Stewardship Coalition/website

The Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund (MOSTF) has opened a new application cycle utilizing $15 million in funding appropriated during the 2023 legislative session.

MOSTF was awarded almost $10 million in funding during the previous legislative session for 21 outdoor conservation and recreation projects across the state during its first round of awards in February 2023.

The funding is now providing assistance to state agencies, municipalities, and non-government organizations to complete over $49.7 million in conservation and nature-based outdoor recreation projects over the next two years.

With the funding appropriated during the 2023 session, there is an opportunity to fund additional projects that may not have been funded in the first round and to consider new proposals as well.

“These investments will strengthen communities around Mississippi, enhance our state’s $8 billion outdoor recreation economy, and help support more than 79,000 jobs,” Governor Tate Reeves stated. “Mississippians overwhelmingly support investing funds to improve Mississippi’s outdoor conservation and recreation efforts, and we’ll continue to do so.”

The MOSTF program seeks projects that can bring outside matching fund commitments to assist with overall project contributions. In the first round of awarded projects, matching sources committed $3.19 for every dollar funded by MOSTF.

“These competitive grants, as demonstrated in the first round of projects, will include a diversity of activities that meet the goals of improving state parks and outdoor recreation trails, improving access to public waters and lands, and preserving, enhancing, and restoring our native wildlife and fish resources and their critical habitats all across Mississippi,” Ed Penny, Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Coalition President, said.

MOSTF Executive Director Ricky Flynt is encouraging interested entities to review the qualifications for application proposals and the application scoring criteria prior to submitting any application.

“All applications will be considered, but there is a clear direction placed in the Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Act (2022) that prioritizes nature-based recreation and education, wildlife and fisheries conservation, and access to public lands and water,” Flynt explained. “We want our applicants to understand the goals and priorities of the MOSTF before they commit the time and effort required to submit an application.”

The MOSTF Board of Trustees is now accepting grant applications from state agencies, municipalities, and non-government organizations through October 31.

Following application reviews, the board will score each application and projects will be ranked prior to being considered for funding. Awarded projects will be announced prior to March 1, 2024.

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