On September 14, 2020, the Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group released its second restoration plan. The Plan addresses some of the injuries to coastal habitats and oysters caused by BP‘s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Mississippi Restoration Area.
The Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group Final Restoration Plan II and Environmental Assessment: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats and Oysters evaluates a range of project alternatives and identifies the preferred project alternatives.
They selected four projects for implementation:
Two wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitat restoration projects:
- Wolf River Coastal Preserve Habitat Management – Dupont and Bell’s Ferry Tracts ($3,127,500)
The Wolf River Coastal Preserve is a 2,500-acre area located near the confluence of the Wolf River with St. Louis Bay. Management activities will include prescribed fire, chemical treatment, mechanical treatment, hydrologic restoration, road repair, culvert replacement, and prescribed grazing.
- Hancock County Coastal Preserve Habitat Management – Wachovia Tract ($1,760,000)
The Hancock County Coastal Preserve-Wachovia Tract is a 1,203-acre area located south of I- 10, east of the Pearl River. Management activities will include a combination of mechanical, chemical, and prescribed fire treatments to help restore habitat in Mississippi.
Two oyster restoration projects:
- Oyster Spawning Reefs in Mississippi ($10,000,000)
The project will include the restoration and/or creation of a minimum of 100 acres and a maximum of 400 + acres of high-relief cultch placements in up to six locations in the Mississippi Sound and areas including St. Louis Bay, Heron Bay, Back Bay/Biloxi Bay, Graveline Bay, Pascagoula Bay, and Grand Bay in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson Counties. This project includes the possibility of placement of more than 400 acres where it is feasible, depending on engineering and design, costs, and other considerations.
- Mississippi Oyster Gardening Program ($500,000)
This Mississippi Oyster Gardening Program is a continuation of a Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund project over a five-year period utilizing volunteers along the Mississippi Gulf Coast to grow sub-adult oysters in gardens that hang from waterfront piers/wharves and docks, which would then be placed at suitable locations in the Mississippi Sound including associated bays and estuaries.
Details on the projects and the environmental analyses are in the restoration plan and environmental assessment. The restoration plan is consistent with the Trustees’ Programmatic Restoration Plan.
Photo of Wolf River courtesy of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain.