The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) announces the appointment of Kyle Wilkerson as Chief for the Office of Marine Patrol and Jennifer Wittmann as Director of the Office of Coastal Resources Management.
“We are grateful to Chief Wilkerson and Jennifer Wittmann for serving in these key roles to help our great state by enhancing, protecting, and conserving our precious marine resources,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “Chief Wilkerson’s leadership throughout his years in Marine Patrol have prepared him to serve as one of the top law enforcement officers in our state, and Jennifer’s extensive knowledge of coastal resources will serve as an integral part in preserving our environment. The Mississippi Gulf Coast and our vital natural resources couldn’t be in better hands.”
Wilkerson is an accomplished law enforcement executive with more than 23 years of experience in the public service sector. He started as a Marine Patrol officer in 2000, and in the years following, served as Senior Master Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Assistant Chief of Marine Patrol.
After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Wilkerson worked for the Oktibbeha County and Madison County Sheriff’s Departments.
He also attended Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer’s Training Academy in Pearl, Miss., North East Alabama Police Academy in Anniston, Ala. and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga.
As Marine Patrol Chief, Wilkerson will oversee daily activities and administer all aspects of personnel and budgeting for the Office of Marine Patrol to enhance, protect and conserve the marine resources of the state. The Chief ensures compliance with local, state, regional and federal regulations applicable to the state’s marine resources.
“Chief Wilkerson’s years of service in the Marine Patrol have proven his commitment to protecting our state’s marine waters and resources,” said MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins. “Our Marine Patrol officers are held to the highest standard and I am confident Chief Wilkerson will continue leading our law enforcement officers with professional integrity.”
Wittmann started working with the MDMR in 2006 and held positions as Director of the Bureau of Coastal Preserves, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Wetlands Permitting and Mitigation and Coastal Resource Management Specialist.
As Director of the Office of Coastal Resources Management, Wittmann provides oversight of programs and directs activities for Coastal Preserves and Coastal Wetlands Permitting and Mitigation Compliance. Wittmann will represent the MDMR at various local, state, regional and national wetland management forums, and serve as program coordinator, principal investigator or primary project review officer for federal grant-in-aid projects.
During her time at the MDMR, Wittman has served on the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Permit Board. Serving as a member on the board since 2016, Wittmann currently serves as Chairman and Vice-Chairman in the year prior.
“Jennifer has shown continuous dedication to this agency and our state’s coastal resources,” said Spraggins. “Her knowledge of coastal preserves, invasive species, wetlands permitting and the beneficial use program make her the best candidate to lead our agency’s team of professionals in the Office of Coastal Resources Management.”
Additional announcements include that the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) urges boaters to take caution around a project to expand Katrina Key reef on the south side of Deer Island.
Concrete rubble will be deployed by barge to expand the existing Katrina Key structure to the west beginning September 18. Work is expected to last two to three weeks depending on weather conditions. The MDMR requests that boaters allow a 200 foot buffer zone around the barge and spotter boat while construction is underway. Permanent aids to navigation will be installed upon completion of the construction phase.
Finally, the Mississippi Advisory Commission on Marine Resources monthly meeting has been rescheduled to 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. The meeting will be held via webinar.