Jackson County

BP oil spill restoration adds $83 million in projects. See if you’ll benefit.

A beach vendor carries a seat cushion to a customer near the Porter Avenue Pier in Biloxi. Another $4 million in RESTORE funds are being used to improve water quality and cut down on the number of beach advisories issued along the Coast.
A beach vendor carries a seat cushion to a customer near the Porter Avenue Pier in Biloxi. Another $4 million in RESTORE funds are being used to improve water quality and cut down on the number of beach advisories issued along the Coast. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

The latest summit was Tuesday, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced 19 new projects for BP and Deepwater Horizon oil spill money.

Restoring and enhancing the state’s natural resources and economy is the priority, the governor said, including wildlife, marine life, sportsmen, recreation and the beach.

Here they are. They add up to $83 million.

▪  Reducing beach advisories — Mississippi Coast water quality improvement to get $4 million this year, for a total of $60 million. The program will identify and repair pipes in areas along the Coast that are having issues with water quality. One of the goals of the project is to reduce the number of beach advisories.

▪  Remote oyster setting for $9.36 million — a project to establish an oyster setting facility to place oyster larvae on material to transport to oyster reefs and increase oyster production. This project will complement the proposed USM Oyster Hatchery.

▪  Pascagoula oyster reef relay and enhancement for $600,000 with a total of $4.1 million — to move oysters from unharvestable reefs to harvestable reefs, using the best available science.

▪  Trent Lott International Airport runway improvements for $6.85 million — to enhance economic development and support existing industry in Jackson County.

▪  Coastal headwaters land conservation for $8 million — to purchase and/or preserve lands adjacent to or around existing conservation areas.

▪  Pearl River Community College Workforce Center for $2.5 million — to enhance workforce training in Hancock County by establishing a training center focused on existing and future industry needs.

▪  Harrison County bulkhead and dock construction for $3.4 million — to build additional bulkhead and docks along the Industrial Seaway in the Bayou Bernard Industrial District to help maritime industry grow.

▪  Round Island living shoreline project for $2.2 million — for planning, engineering, design and permitting for new Round Island and its newly-created sand berm and marsh. Support expanding new Round Island.

▪  Gulf of Mexico citizen led initiative for $1.9 million — to fund the University of Mississippi and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources efforts to establish a citizen-led program and develop a mobile phone app to gather coastal ecosystem health assessment data.

▪  Bayou Casotte industrial buffer concept, $500,000 for planning — to assess a concept to develop a buffer between the industrial and residential area along Bayou Casotte Parkway in Pascagoula.

▪  Gulf Coast Small Business Incubator capacity enhancement for $700,000 — to expand small business incubator capacity on the Mississippi Coast and encourage regional small business development and growth.

▪ Gulf Coast tourist wayfinding and informational signs for $1 million — to promote tourism with informational signs across the Coast to attract visitors and improve their experience.

▪  USM Marine Research Center for $2 million — to develop the new center by funding the technology and equipment needed to support marine research activities.

▪  Compatibility, coordination, and restoration planning, two projects for $1 million — to provide money to support restoration planning.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation projects:

▪  Pascagoula River corridor acquisitions ($11.85 million) — This project will support the acquisition of more than 3,400 acres of floodplain habitat and riparian buffer along the Pascagoula River corridor to benefit various wading birds, waterfowl, fish, and downstream water quality.

▪  Reef fish assessment for Mississippi coastal and near-shore water, Phase II ($2.35 million) — This project will fund continuing assessments of reef fish in coastal Mississippi and near-shore waters. Collection of biological, environmental, and fishery-dependent data will help to reduce the scientific uncertainty around several key factors influencing red snapper and other reef fish population structures and stock assessments.

▪  Utilization of dredge material for marsh restoration, Phase II ($23.6 million) — This will focus on continued utilization of material from various maintenance dredging activities to restore and create additional marsh habitat.

▪  Mississippi comprehensive restoration planning, Phase II ($1.5 million) — This will expand Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Restoration Plan to include additional conservation goals for living coastal and marine resources, birds and water quality.

The projects announced for 2017 are from two funding streams — the RESTORE Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Comprehensive information about all of Mississippi’s restoration efforts can be found at www.restore.ms.