On behalf of the Gulf Coast legislative delegation, Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson presented the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) with a check for $11,455,247 representing the Tidelands Trust Funds amounts collected during Fiscal Year 2023 for use during Fiscal Year 2024.
Over the life of the program, the Secretary of State’s Office has transferred a total of $198,945,227 to the Mississippi Gulf Coast through the Tidelands Trust Funds.
“As the first Secretary of State from the Coast, I have a unique perspective of the significance of the Mississippi Tidelands and ensuring we preserve such a beautiful and important resource, improve public access and spur economic development when possible,” said Secretary Watson. “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 conservation, preservation of Mississippi tidelands, and increased public access to the beautiful Mississippi Gulf 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,” said Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins. “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.”
The Tidelands Trust Fund Program was created by the Tidelands Act of 1989. The first transfer occurred in 1997. The program’s mission is to carry out the state’s policy to support the public’s use of the public trust tidelands and submerged land of the State of Mississippi.