Governor Tate Reeves announced today that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund has approved six restoration projects and two amended projects for Mississippi for a total of $26.8 million. The projects will be administered by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
“These projects will be critical in my administration’s coastal restoration and preservation efforts,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “One of my top priorities will always be to restore our coast to what it was before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, so future generations of Mississippians can enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.”
“The health of our natural resources is intertwined with the strength of the economy of South Mississippi. These projects, in addition to the others announced for this year, will continue the essential work necessary to enhance the coastal habitat so vital for marine life,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director.
The projects approved by NFWF for Mississippi are:
• West Hancock County Nearshore Habitat Restoration ($1.4 million) – funding for engineering, design, and permitting for habitat restoration that will increase living coastal marine resource productivity and marine life such as crabs and fish.
• Point Cadet Nearshore Habitat Restoration ($400,000) – funding for engineering, design, and permitting for shoreline protection for marsh creation which will result in increased coastal marine resource productivity.
• Bellefontaine Nearshore Habitat Protection ($1 million) -- engineering, design, and permitting to help protect the shoreline of Davis Bayou and Marsh Point with living shoreline structures.
• Offshore Artificial Reef and Habitat Enhancement--Barrier Island Reefs ($3.12 million) – artificial reef design and construction to benefit fisheries production.
• Artificial Reef and Habitat Enhancement--Katrina Key ($8.5 million) – engineering and construction of shoreline protection for Deer Island by extending Katrina Key.
• Inshore Artificial Reef Assessment and Petit Bois Planning ($662,000) – funding to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources for planning to restore and enhance marine life productivity on MDMR’s inshore artificial reef system.
Amendments to current projects were also approved:
• Utilization of Dredge Material for March Restoration in Coastal Mississippi ($11 million) – funding for Phase II of the Mississippi beneficial use of dredge material project focuses on continued utilization of material from various maintenance dredging activities to restore and create additional marsh habitat. This effort will enhance the ecological benefits for priority bays and estuaries along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
• Mississippi Coastal Restoration Plan ($720,000) – this funding for the project’s Phase II continues an assessment of current ecological conditions and restoration efforts, compiles and evaluates existing resource management plans, and determines habitat and living resource focal areas for a comprehensive restoration plan to identify priority restoration projects and programs.
NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund was established in 2013 as a result of plea agreements resolving criminal cases after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The agreements directed a total of $2.54 billion to NFWF to fund projects benefiting the natural resources of the Gulf Coast that were impacted by the spill.
Comprehensive information about all of Mississippi’s restoration efforts can be found at www.restore.ms.