On October 19, 2023, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced that he had approved more than $44 million for 15 new RESTORE Act projects to ecologically restore and build climate resilience along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
When implemented, these projects will add more than $44 million to the total of more than $227 million worth of restoration projects that have been approved during his administration.
“These projects will make our Gulf Coast an even better place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Governor Reeves.
“Attracting new visitors, enhancing our coastal habitats for fish and wildlife, and improving our infrastructure are critical to improving quality of life and further bolstering Mississippi,” he added.
These 15 projects announced for 2023 are funded through the RESTORE Act and were recommended to Governor Reeves by the Governor’s Gulf Coast Advisory Committee for his consideration and selection.
Among others, the new projects include revitalization of the Hancock County Fairgrounds, improvements to the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, a scenic trail along the Pascagoula River, an artificial reef project and a coastal education program for Mississippi high schools.
“Seeing the economic and environmental impacts of these projects on our beautiful coast is one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director.
“And for each project there are so many peripheral and indirect impacts that can’t necessarily be seen but are certainly there and are just as important as the direct impacts. We appreciate the Governor’s direction on these projects and look forward to getting them launched,” he continued.
The projects include:
RESTORE Act Direct Component Funding (Bucket 1):
- Hancock County Fairgrounds Revitalization ($3.5 million) – for enhancement of site amenities.
- The Kiln Utility District and Fire District Kapalama Road Water Improvements ($1.9 million) – improvements to meet current and future water demands.
- Hwy 609 Washington Street Gateway Phase II ($5.5 million) – to construct pedestrian friendly features including sidewalks, a crosswalk, and landscaped median under Phase II from Old Fort Bayou to Highway 90.
- Point Cadet Marina Improvements Phase II ($5.5 million) – for improvements to the Point Cadet Marina to stimulate additional economic activity and redevelopment.
- Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport Construction Rehabilitation and Overhaul Facility ($6.6 million) – to construct an aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility and apron.
- Mass Audience Safety and Security Technology ($1.8 million) – to implement transformational security improvements to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component Funding (Bucket 3):
- Invasive Species in Water ($1.1 million) – to reduce and remove invasive species in coastal waterbodies, marshes, and estuaries.
- Pascagoula River Scenic Trail ($2.7 million) – to establish a blueway and recreational improvements along the Pascagoula River for nature-based tourism.
- One Gulf One Goal Artificial Reef Project ($1.9 million) – to construct artificial reefs.
- Coastal Education Program in Mississippi High Schools ($1.32 million) – to enhance environmental science programs related to marine ecosystem education.
- Addition of Interactive Exhibit ($4.5 million) – at the Mississippi Aquarium for education and tourism.
- KHSA Taxilane Sierra Extension ($1.9 million) – to extend Taxilane Sierra at Stennis International Airport to allow for increased capacity and economic development.
- Classrooms and dormitories for the Center for Marine Education and Research ($2.7 million) – to construct dormitory and classroom facilities to promote teaching and research at the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies.
- Working Waterfront and Commercial Seafood Harbor Project Phase II ($2.2 million) – supports the development of a working waterfront in D’Iberville.
Natural Gas Improvements ($1.1 million) – City of Waveland to replace natural gas line.
Photo of the Pascagoula River courtesy of the Government of Mississippi..
The projects will be managed by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality through its Office of Restoration.