Federal program enhances Coastal environment

Federal program enhances Coastal environment

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A wide range of environmental projects in the three coastal counties have come to life thanks to a more than decade old federal program.

The Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) was established by Congress in 2005 to promote conservation, preservation and restoration of coastal areas. Mississippi is one of six oil and gas producing states that is eligible for funding.

A long list of projects have benefited over the past 11 years. The Department of Marine Resources manages CIAP.

"We are all about enhancing, protecting and preserving our resources on the Coast. These projects allow us to do that. It helps us protect fisheries and wetlands that make the Coast a beautiful place to live and visit," said Melissa Scallan with DMR.

The program will end on Dec. 31. More than $38 million have been spent on efforts to preserve Mississippi's natural resources, and improve the quality of life for residents of the Coast.

The walking trail and park on Porter Avenue across from the Biloxi Visitor's Center is one of the most recent projects funded by CIAP.

Evidence of the program's impact can be seen from one end of the coast to the other. If you drive Highway 90 in Pass Christian you've seen this work being done on the site of the old Winn Dixie.

"What we're doing in Pass Christian is providing green space in that area, it's 7 acres. It's going to have some native vegetation and walking trails. It's green space for the people of Pass Christian and the Gulf Coast to enjoy," Scallan said.

Most of the work is completed on the Pass Christian project. It should be open to the public in the next six weeks.

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