Secretary of State Michael Watson presented the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) with a $10,314,561 check on behalf of the Gulf Coast legislative delegation Wednesday.
The check, which represents the Tidelands Trust Funds amounts collected during Fiscal Year 2022 for use during Fiscal Year 2023, brings the amount transferred from the secretary of state’s office to the Mississippi Gulf Coast through the program up to $187,489,980.
“As the first secretary of state from the Coast, I have a unique perspective of our Tidelands and the significance of returning these funds to help preserve such a beautiful and important resource, improve public access and spur economic development when possible,” Watson said. “All of Mississippi benefits when the Coast works together to manage some of the state’s most treasured property.”
Revenue for the Tidelands Trust Funds is generated by leases on lands owned by the state in trust for the people of Mississippi and assessments for onshore gaming operations. Generated funds are dispersed to MDMR for programs and projects geared toward the conservation and preservation of Mississippi tidelands and the increase of public access areas along the coast.
“The Tidelands Trust Funds represent a large annual investment from the state in coastal marsh preservation, marine education, and environmental conservation of Mississippi’s marine resources,” MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins said. “Our agency appreciates Secretary Watson and our legislators for allowing us to manage these funds that help our communities access the beautiful waterways along our Mississippi Gulf Coast.”