The Secretary of State’s Office turned back millions today to projects aimed at conserving the natural state of and providing access to public lands on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, on behalf of the Gulf Coast legislative delegation, presented Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) Executive Director Joe Spraggins with a check for $10 million, representing the Tidelands Trust Fund amount turned back for Fiscal Year 2018. In all, total Tidelands Trust Fund income for Fiscal Year 2018 was $10,924,573.93.
“As public servants, it falls to us to make sure future generations are able to enjoy our beautiful Gulf Coast. The Tidelands Trust Fund and the important projects it fuels help make this possible,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who serves as Trustee of the Public Trust Tidelands and as State Land Commissioner.
Since 2008, and including an anticipated $9.6 million turnback in Fiscal Year 2019, the Secretary of State’s office will have turned back more than $100 million to the Mississippi Gulf Coast through the Tidelands Trust Fund program during Secretary Hosemann’s tenure. This is significantly more than the previous decade (Fiscal Years 1997-2007), which is calculated at about $54.5 million.
Revenue for the Tidelands Trust Fund is generated by leases on lands owned by the State in trust for the people of Mississippi, and assessment for on shore gaming operations. Generated funds are disbursed to MDMR for programs and projects geared toward conservation, reclamation, and preservation of Mississippi’s tidelands, and the increase of public access areas on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“The Tidelands trust fund represents a large annual investment from the State in coastal marsh preservation, marine education, and environmental conservation of Mississippi’s marine resources,” Spraggins said. “Many of these projects provide valuable environmental research that helps the agency’s management and conservation decisions. We appreciate Secretary Hosemann’s efforts, and will continue to work closely with his Office in the future.”