The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has announced the restoration priorities set forth in the state’s Bucket Two proposal that was submitted to the RESTORE Council Monday, November 17, as part of the Council’s first “funded priority list.”

Mississippi has partnered with a number of other Council members to submit three initiatives. If funded, the projects could create thousands of additional acres of conserved lands across the Gulf region, establish the state’s first Mississippi Sound Estuarine Program, and streamline environmental program activity in the future through coordinated efforts around the availability of beneficial use materials.

The Council’s first “funded priority list” will likely spend approximately $160 to $180 million throughout the Gulf region out of the settlement from the Transocean Deepwater, Inc. and related entities to fund the Council-Selected Restoration Component (Bucket Two) projects.

“Mississippi’s coastal residents have played a vital role in shaping our submissions. These restoration priorities are responsive to the feedback we have received for the last two years, and they are reflective of the clear priorities represented by the over 500 projects which have been received through our project submission portal at www.restore.ms. In preparing these submissions our state has focused heavily on the announced goal of RESTORE Bucket Two which is to fund restoration projects and programs that contribute to the comprehensive restoration of the Gulf ecosystem, and we have worked hard to secure partners across the Gulf,” said Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director.

Briefly described, the state’s three proposals include:

1.   A coordinated multi-state strategy for land protection, conservation
and enhancement of priority lands across the Gulf.

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2.   Creation of a Mississippi Sound Estuarine Program (MSEP) which will
provide a structured network of scientists, citizens, and communities
to focus on policy matters important to Mississippi’s environment.

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3.   Coordination of a federal/state joint initiative to fund planning,
engineering and design, and permitting of beneficial use materials
and sites in an effort to expedite activities around readiness for
large scale environmental project work to come in the coming months
and years.

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Please visit www.restorethegulf.gov to review all proposals submitted to the RESTORE Council from Council members.