Governor Tate Reeves announced that the Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group (MS TIG) approved four restoration projects totaling over $15 million that will have a direct impact on Mississippi’s coastal natural resources.
“This is a great day for Mississippi and our coastal communities. With over $15 million in restoration projects, we will be able to ensure the vitality and longevity of our precious natural beauty and resources along the Gulf Coast,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “We are truly grateful for our ongoing partnership with MS TIG and their commitment to protecting the people and local economies on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
The MS TIG released its second restoration plan in September to address injuries to coastal habitats and to oysters caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) serves as a Trustee on the MS TIG and will administer the projects, working closely with the project partners to implement them.
“The approval of this plan has been a long process, and I am pleased we can move forward into implementation of these important projects,” said Interim Executive Director Chris Wells. “These projects are crucial components of the efforts to improve the health of natural resources and the oyster population on the Coast.”
The four projects contained in the plan are:
Wolf River Coastal Preserve Habitat Management – Dupont and Bell’s Ferry Tracts ($3.1 million)
The Wolf River Coastal Preserve is a 2,500-acre area located near the confluence of the Wolf River with St. Louis Bay. Management activities will include prescribed fire, chemical treatment, mechanical treatment, hydrologic restoration, road repair, culvert replacement, and prescribed grazing.
Hancock County Coastal Preserve Habitat Management – Wachovia Tract ($1.76 million)
The Hancock County Coastal Preserve-Wachovia Tract is a 1,203-acre area located south of I-10 and east of the Pearl River. Management activities will include a combination of mechanical, chemical, and prescribed fire treatments to help restore habitat in Mississippi.
Oyster Spawning Reefs in Mississippi ($10 million)
The project will include the restoration and/or creation of a minimum of 100 acres and a maximum of approximately 400 acres of high-relief cultch placements in up to six locations in the Mississippi Sound and areas including St. Louis Bay, Heron Bay, Back Bay/Biloxi Bay, Graveline Bay, Pascagoula Bay, and Grand Bay in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties.
Mississippi Oyster Gardening Program ($500,000)
The Mississippi Oyster Gardening Program is a continuation of a Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund project over a five-year period utilizing volunteers along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to grow sub-adult oysters in gardens that hang from waterfront piers, wharves, and docks at suitable locations in the Mississippi Sound including associated bays and estuaries.
The MS TIG, comprised of MDEQ, the Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency, works jointly to implement restoration projects in the Mississippi Restoration Area.