Jackson County lands purchased with funds from oil spill settlement

Jackson County lands purchased with funds from oil spill settlement

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Fifteen hundred acres of land in Jackson County will get a makeover thanks to funds from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement allocated to Mississippi.

The first land acquisition of the Grand Bay Land Acquisition and Habitat Management Project secured the land near the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Grand Bay Savanna Coastal Preserve.

“This project is a natural resource damages project.” said Chris Wells with the Department of Environmental Quality. The other two categories in this settlement are Restore Act civil penalties and the Gulf Environmental Fund.

The $6 million price tag will go toward managing the lands, as well as securing habitats for threatened and endangered species. You can also expect to see some tourism aspects like hunting, fishing and paddling.

“We’re currently working now to add some additional funding," Wells said.

That additional funding would mean acquiring more land, something Wells said the team behind the project would like to see happen.

It’s a big deal for the Coast and for Jackson County.

“The three top priorities that we’ve heard from folks are to improve water quality, to protect and conserve marine resources and to conserve habitat," said Wells.

There is no word yet on when work will begin.

Copyright 2019 WLOX. All rights reserved.