Mississippi Trustees to Proceed with Engineering and Design of St. Louis Bay Living Shoreline Component
The Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group (Trustees) is continuing implementation of the Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries project, a Phase IV Early Restoration project approved in 2015. Components of the project already completed have resulted in the construction of 1.8 miles of living shoreline and breakwaters, approximately 137 acres of subtidal reef habitat creation, and five acres of intertidal reef habitat creation.
In September 2018, the Trustees released a Notice of Project Change, cancelling three components of the original Project:
- The St. Louis Bay Living Shoreline
- The Little Island Living Shoreline, and
- The Channel Island Living Shoreline and Subtidal Reef
The St. Louis Bay Living Shoreline component was cancelled in 2018 because some of the adjacent property may not have been owned by the State of Mississippi. A tidelands survey would have been necessary to address this uncertainty. Because the area in question was of considerable size, it was determined that moving forward with this component at that time would have been cost prohibitive and therefore not feasible.
Since initiating implementation, however, the State of Mississippi is resolving ownership matters, and sufficient funding remains in the Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries Project budget to proceed with engineering and design of the St. Louis Bay Living Shoreline component.
The Trustees determined that conducting project engineering and design remains consistent with the environmental review conducted in the Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments (PDF, 1,198 pages) and those analyses do not change when reincorporating the St. Louis Bay component. Accordingly, no further analyses under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) or the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) are necessary at this time.
Once engineering and design is complete, and prior to project construction, the Trustees will re-evaluate the need for additional analyses under OPA and NEPA and will evaluate the budget to confirm that funding is available for construction based on the design.