GEBF in Mississippi
“The Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund support has enabled our state to take on once-in-a-lifetime conservation projects across our coast. We are conserving coastal landscapes at an unprecedented scale, and taking bold steps to improve water quality. We are also working with a variety of partners to restore barrier islands and enhance marsh habitat through the beneficial use of dredge materials.” — Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant
To date, the total number of awards from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) in the state of Mississippi stands at 23, with a total current value of nearly $159 million. These projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The projects in Mississippi address high-priority conservation needs. They represent important efforts to protect and enhance natural and living resources, as well as significant planning efforts to develop future projects for consideration under the GEBF.
To learn more about the projects the GEBF has funded in Mississippi, view the comprehensive list of projects.
Utilizing Dredge Material for Marsh Restoration in Coastal Mississippi
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has received more than $45 million from the GEBF to sustainably restore and create marsh habitat within St Louis Bay, Back Bay Biloxi and the Escatawpa Watershed using dredged material. Work includes restoration of the 220-acre Round Island in the Mississippi Sound near Pascagoula that is already providing new nesting habitat for numerous shorebirds and seabirds, while providing storm protection and additional recreation opportunities.
Enhancing Protection of State Lands
The GEBF has awarded more than $13 million to enhance coastal habitat connectivity and increase core conservation areas within the Mississippi Coastal Preserves system and the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The projects conserve critical coastal habitats, one of the fundamental steps in building and maintaining a sustainable, resilient coastal environment.
Improving Habitat for Marsh Birds
While secretive birds such as rails and bitterns remain difficult to study, many experts agree several marsh bird species are experiencing serious population declines, a situation made worse by the 2010 oil spill. The GEBF dedicated more than $17 million to projects acquiring parcels that will protect and enhance habitats for marsh birds. Researchers in Mississippi are investigating the breeding and wintering ecology of priority marsh bird species. These studies, unprecedented in scale and focus, are expected to guide future conservation actions and help marsh birds rebound.
NFWF is engaged in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, FWS and NOAA to identify priority conservation projects for consideration under the GEBF. Review of the 2019 cycle proposals is expected to begin in the spring of 2020.
About the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Mississippi
Under the allocation formula and other provisions contained in the plea agreements, the GEBF has received $356 million for project expenditures in the state of Mississippi.
To learn more about Mississippi's process for identifying priority Gulf Coast restoration projects visit: www.restore.ms