Restoration efforts on the Coast continue.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has announced 10 new and supplemental restoration projects that will add approximately $37.8 million to the total being spent on restoration projects in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
This brings the total for all announced projects up to approximately $508 million. The announcement was made Tuesday at the Mississippi Restoration Summit hosted by MDEQ in Biloxi.
Governor Bryant was in attendance for the announcement, and stressed the importance of these projects to the state’s economy.
“These projects continue our efforts to ensure funds are spent in strategic ways to restore and enhance our natural resources and our economy following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Governor Bryant said. “The continued economic growth of South Mississippi relies on many components such as tourism, the seafood industry, and the natural resources enjoyed by sportsmen, recreationists, and beach goers. We will continue to implement projects that benefit the environment and improve quality of life for our residents and our visitors. ”
Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director, stated that the summit was the perfect way to keep residents informed on their efforts to restore the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“The Mississippi Restoration Summit is an excellent way to interact with the public and explain where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are headed with the various aspects of restoration funding. We look forward to receiving feedback from the public about these new projects and all of our initiatives,” Rikard said.
The projects announced for 2018 are all funded through the RESTORE Act.
The latest RESTORE Act projects can be seen below:
Hancock County Marsh Living Shoreline (Additional $6 million in 2018; Total project $56 million) – This funding will add additional components to the Hancock Marsh Living Shoreline project currently funded through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment program. Currently six miles of living shoreline protection is complete and approximately 1.5 miles of additional marsh shoreline protection will be constructed with this new funding. This project protects and restores the Hancock County marsh complex which is the largest contiguous marsh complex in Mississippi.
Beneficial Use of Dredge Materials for Marsh Creation and Restoration in Mississippi ($12 million) – This program will create new marsh as well as restoring and enhancing existing marsh through the beneficial use (BU) of dredge materials. This program will support the dredging needs in the three coastal counties and may utilize accumulated spoil materials to facilitate the material necessary for marsh restoration.
Mississippi Sound Oyster Shell Recycling Program ($650,000) – This program will support the collection and utilization of discarded oyster shells for oyster cultch placement in the Mississippi Sound to support oyster restoration efforts. Additionally, this program will include an economic sustainability analysis.
Pearl River Community College Workforce Center (Additional $4 million in 2018; Total RESTORE funding $7 million) – This project will enhance workforce training in Hancock County by supporting the establishment of a workforce training center focused on existing and future industry workforce training needs.
Harrison County Rail Line Repair and Upgrades ($2.3 million) – This project will fund repairs and upgrades to the main rail spur servicing the Bernard Bayou Industrial District which is currently out of service. It will support existing industry and enhance the ability to attract new industry and jobs.
Jackson County Corridor Connector Road (Additional $4.8 million in 2018; Total RESTORE funding $15 million) – This project will support the construction of an east-west corridor in Jackson County running parallel to Interstate 10 to the north connecting Mallett Road/Sangani Boulevard to Cook Road/Highway 609. This project will benefit the economy and transportation system continuity and traveler safety in the area.
Work Ready Community Program (Additional $5 million in 2018; Total RESTORE $9 million) – The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) Work Ready Community Program includes a basic skills training component and industry-specific workforce training programs. This program assists regional workforce training and economic development efforts. With the additional funding, MGCCC will establish an Unmanned Systems Technology Training program and continue the current program activities.
Gulf Seafood Marketing Program ($400,000) – The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources’ Seafood Marketing Program promotes the sale and use of Gulf seafood to consumers, dealers, and restaurant owners and chefs to benefit the local seafood industry and economy.
Mississippi Aquarium (Additional $1.35 million; Total RESTORE funding $18.35 million) – This funding is a portion of the construction costs of the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport to provide visitors with a world-class family attraction and interactive science, education, interpretive and research opportunities for exploring marine habitats and fisheries in the Gulf ecosystem. This project will boost the tourism offerings and economy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Air Service Growth Program ($1.2 million) – This project helps promote tourism by enhancing affordable air service development at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Affordable commercial air service is a necessary component to the economic growth and recovery of the Gulf Coast’s economy and thriving tourism industry.
Comprehensive information about all of Mississippi’s restoration efforts and information about the Mississippi Restoration Summit can be found at www.restore.ms.
Restoration efforts on the Coast continue.