MS awarded $30 million for eco-restoration projects

Harmful bacteria has caused enough concern to cancel triathlon (Image Source: WLOX News)
Harmful bacteria has caused enough concern to cancel triathlon (Image Source: WLOX News)
Published: Nov. 10, 2015 at 6:23 PM CST
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SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Mississippi will be getting almost $30 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for four eco-restoration projects following the BP oil spill. Gov. Phil Bryant said the projects will focus on habitat restoration, oyster restoration and management and improving the water quality from beach outfalls.

"The selection of these projects involved more than a year's worth of planning, significant public engagement, and the forging of partnerships with a variety of groups," said Gary Rikard, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Executive Director. "All of that effort will result in the implementation of projects that will benefit the Coast and its residents for generations."

More than $9 million will go toward restoring habitat on federal lands in coastal areas and more than $7 million will go towards conserving habitat and improving water quality in the 30,000-acre Turkey Creek watershed in Harrison County. More than $11 million will be used to study oyster populations and research ways resiliency and productivity can be improved. More than $500,000 will go toward a design challenge hosted by MDEQ to address water quality impacts on beach outfalls on the Mississippi Sound.

These additional projects bring the total to more than $68 million in restoration and planning projects awarded to Mississippi through the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.

"These projects were directly shaped by the public's input received as part of our planning efforts, and they will help the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast enhance and restore habitat, improve water quality, and study ways to increase oyster production," Bryant said. "Additionally, they will strengthen the partnerships among state and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations working together to improve the natural resources that are essential for recreational and commercial use that are vital to the Gulf Coast's economy and quality of life."

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