Gov. Phil Bryant has created an intra-agency and university task force to monitor environmental conditions and measure the impacts of the Bonnet Carre Spillway on marine species in the Mississippi Sound.
The task force will report to the governor weekly with science-based facts about water quality, water quantity, seafood and safety risk to people who come in contact with water from the Mississippi Sound, according to a news release.
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Mississippi State University (MSU) and the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) will work together on the task force.
MDMR is currently using fishery independent methods to sample oyster reefs, shrimp, crabs and finfish.
IMMS, MDMR and the MSU Department of Veterinary College are monitoring the number of stranded or deceased dolphins and sea turtles being reported in the Mississippi Sound to determine potential causes.
MDEQ will continue to perform water quality analysis on public beaches to ensure it is safe for human contact and recreation.
“I am deeply concerned over the influx of fresh water into the Mississippi Sound and the adverse effects it is having on our marine resources.” said Gov. Bryant in a release.