Ricky Flynt has been appointed to lead the long-debated Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund, according to an announcement by Governor Tate Reeves.
On Friday, Reeves released that Flynt, who has previously worked in a variety of roles for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks since 1993, will now serve as project manager supervisor for the trust fund effective February 1.
“From our rivers and forests to our farmlands and coastlines, Mississippi is truly blessed with a wealth of natural beauty,” Reeves said. “We have a duty to preserve our land and ensure that our kids have similar opportunities to enjoy it. This Trust Fund and Mr. Flynt will both play key roles in Mississippi’s critical conservation efforts.”
Flynt has also held positions including Area Manager for Mahannah and Twin Oaks Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), Associate Wildlife Biologist for the Black Prairie and Hell Creek WMAs, and most recently served as Alligator Program Coordinator for 19 years.
He was previously named the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year in 2008 by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, currently serves as the Mississippi Representative to the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and has served as the Chairman of the Mississippi Beaver and Wild Hog Control Advisory Board since 2016. He has a range of certifications and received his Bachelor of Science in Forestry/Wildlife Management from Mississippi State University.
The fund, which aims to provide funding for the improvement of the Mississippi outdoors, was signed into law by Reeves in April 2022 after years of debate. Additional legislation appropriated $10 million into the Fund. The Board of Trustees for the Fund oversees disbursement of funding.
According to the bill, the trust fund includes the following:
- Funding will derive from appropriation with a cap of $20 million, excluding federal funds, but there is no minimum amount that must be allocated by legislators.
- Improvement of state park outdoor recreation features and trails.
- Restoration or enhancement on privately owned working agricultural lands and forests that support conservation of soil, water, habitat of fish and wildlife resources.
- Acquisition and improvement of parks and trails by counties and municipalities, if such parks and trails lie within the jurisdiction of such counties and municipalities.
- Restoration or enhancement projects to create or improve access to public waters and lands for public outdoor recreation, conservation education, or the safe use and enjoyment of permanently protected conservation land.
- Restoration or enhancement of wetlands, native forests, native grasslands, and other unique habitats important for Mississippi’s fish and wildlife.
- Acquisition of critical areas for the provision or protection of clean water, wildlife, hunting, fishing, military installation buffering or natural resource-based outdoor recreation.
Additionally, the fund is now accepting grant applications to help improve recreation and trails, restore public waters and lands, expand conservation education, enhance privately owned agricultural lands and forests, and protect Mississippi’s wealth of wetlands, forests, grasslands, and other unique habitats.
Applications for the grant program can be made here.