The Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group released a Notice of Project Change (PDF, 4 pg) canceling three components of the Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries early restoration project approved by the Trustees in 2015.
This Phase IV Early Restoration Project included a total of eight components in four bays: St. Louis Bay, the Back Bay of Biloxi and vicinity, Graveline Bay, and Grand Bay. Construction of up to 4.1 miles of living shoreline and breakwaters, approximately 267 acres of subtidal reef habitat creation, and 5 acres of intertidal reef habitat creation was anticipated. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was allocated $30,000,000 to implement the project, and initiated engineering and design for project components in 2016.
As a result of preliminary engineering and design, the Mississippi Trustees determined that implementation of three project components is not feasible at this time due to the following issues:
- The St. Louis Bay Living Shoreline and the Little Island Living Shoreline Components
After conducting further due diligence on properties adjacent to the project areas, we determined that some of the adjacent property may not be owned by the State of Mississippi. A tidelands survey would be necessary to address this uncertainty and because the areas in question are of considerable size, we have determined that moving forward with these components at this time would be cost prohibitive and therefore not feasible.
- The Channel Island Living Shoreline and Subtidal Reef
During the engineering and design phase of the project, it was determined that this project component, as designed, could potentially result in creation of a navigational hazard. Moving forward with Channel Island Living Shoreline and Subtidal Reef as described in the Phase IV Early Restoration Plan is not feasible at this time.
MDEQ is in the process of completing engineering design and permitting of the remaining five project components which include Wolf River Living Shoreline and Subtidal Reef, Deer Island Subtidal Reef, Big Island Living Shoreline, Graveline Bay Intertidal and Subtidal Reefs and Grand Bay Intertidal and Subtidal Reefs. These components may require further refinements and changes. MDEQ intends to submit individual environmental permitting applications for the remaining five components.
If applicable, a notification of project change will be provided for each respective component in accordance with the Trustee Council’s Standard Operating Procedures (PDF, 249 pg) Section 9.5.2, Project Changes. Funds allocated to the eliminated components will continue to be held by MDEQ until implementation of all remaining project components is complete. If any project funds remain after the Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries project is implemented, those funds will be handled in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures Section 22.214.171.124, Excess Project Funds.