(Photo by Audra Melton from conserve.ms)
The investment aimed at preserving wildlife and outdoor areas is expected to boost the state’s economy by $8 billion and create nearly 80,000 jobs.
The Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund (MOST) is distributing $9.8 million in funding to nearly two dozen projects across the state of Mississippi.
The Mississippi Legislature created the MOSTF in 2022 to preserve wildlife and outdoor areas in Mississippi. Additional funding of $15 million was added to the MOST in 2023. The fund is overseen by a Board of Trustees made up of appointments by the Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Ultimately, the board determines which grants are selected and how funding is disbursed.
The announcement of the funding on Wednesday is the first selection of grants to be awarded through the MOST. The projects impact conservation efforts and recreation projects. This initial funding will be matched by more than $31.4 million from other sources.
The largest projects receiving funding are the metro-area Pearl River Source Water Protection and Recreation Project, Phase 1, at $2.7 million and Hernando’s Renasant Park Enhancements for Natural Resource-Based Outdoor Recreation, Environmental Education, Eco-Tourism and Sustainability at $1.7 million.
“I was proud to sign legislation that created the Mississippi Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “The Fund is already paying dividends to communities all over Mississippi. These grants will be critical to preserving Mississippi’s natural beauty so that future generations can enjoy it.”
The grants were chosen based on projects that meet the goals of improving state parks and outdoor recreation trails, improving access to public water and land, and preserving native wildlife and fish resources. The grants are expected to enhance the state’s outdoor recreation economy by $8 billion and create more than 79,000 jobs.
“We were pleased to receive over 100 project applications in our first round. There was no shortage of excellent projects, but limited funding made it very competitive. The Board worked very hard to determine which projects would receive funding based on a comprehensive set of criteria,” said MOST Chair, Van Ray of Yazoo City.
The list of projects include:
- Pearl River Source Water Protection and Recreation Project, Phase 1 ($2,696,471)
- Renasant Park Enhancements for Natural Resource-Based Outdoor Recreation, Environmental Education, Eco-Tourism and Sustainability ($1,737,060).
- Freedom Ridge and Purple Creek Basin Improvements ($1,000,000)
- Mississippi Delta Wetlands Enhancement Projects ($1,000,000)
- Richardson Sportsplex and Outdoor Recreation Park ($996,300)
- Improving Wildlife Habitats Statewide Collaborative Conservation Partnerships ($570,000)
- Sims Road River Access and Eco-Tourism ($480,000)
- Stewardship Agreements on National Forests to Improve Forest Health-MS ($327,870)
- Noma Drive Boat Ramp Improvements ($250,000)
- Forest Management on State-Owned WMA’s ($175,000)
- Kamassa Lakeside Fish and Fellowship with Accessible Piers ($150,000)
- Highway 57 Sports Complex Walking and Birding Trail ($126,326)
- Trail Improvements Tishominga State Park ($102,800)
- Youth Environmental Stewardship Program (YES Program) ($90,000)
- Invest in the Present to Improve the Future ($34,500)
- Turcotte Shooting Facility Skeet House Construction ($31,750)
- Horseshoe Lake Restoration Project ($26,250)
- Swamp Access & Interpretation Project at Lee Tartt Nature Preserve ($21,450)
- North MS Fish Hatchery Visitor Education Center Event Pond Improvements ($13,750)
- Lake Columbia Kayak Launch ($8,700)
- Holmes County State Park Kayak Launch ($8,700)