Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and the Gulf Coast legislative delegation on Thursday released nearly $12 million in Tidelands Trust funds, including more than $1.4 million for projects in Hancock County and Pass Christian.
Hosemann on Thursday presented Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) Executive Director Joe Spraggins with a check for $11,740,00, representing the Tidelands Trust Fund amount turned back for Fiscal Year 2019.
“The Tidelands Trust Fund, and the projects it stimulates, serve the purpose of making sure Mississippians are able to enjoy the Mississippi Gulf Coast now and in the future,” Hosemann, who serves as Trustee of the Public Trust Tidelands and as State Land Commissioner, said Thursday.
Portions of that money going to Hancock County-area projects include:
• $250,000 to the city of Diamondhead for the Montjoy Creek and Rotten Bayou public access amenities.
• $250,000 to the city of Bay St. Louis for the expansion of the Rutherford Fishing Pier.
• $400,000 for McLeod Park RV campsite expansion and pier construction.
• $75,000 for Jourdan River Shores canal dredging.
• $225,000 to the city of Waveland for a handicap-accessible walkway and ramp to the water.
• $150,000 to Pass Christian for electrical improvements at the West Harbor.
• $60,000 to Pass Christian for repairs to the water distribution system at the East Harbor.
Revenue for the Tidelands Trust Fund is generated by leases on lands owned by the State in trust for the people of Mississippi, and assessment for on shore gaming operations, according to the Secretary of State's website. Generated funds are disbursed to MDMR for programs and projects geared toward conservation, reclamation, and preservation of Mississippi’s tidelands, and the increase of public access areas on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“The Tidelands trust fund represents a large annual investment from the State in coastal marsh preservation, marine education, and environmental conservation of Mississippi's marine resources,” Spraggins said. “Many of these projects provide valuable environmental research that helps the agency’s management and conservation decisions. We appreciate Secretary Hosemann’s efforts, and will continue to work closely with his office in the future.”
Coast casinos paid more than $8 million into the fund in FY 2019.
Silver Slipper Casino at Bayou Caddy and the Scarlet Pearl Casino in d'Iberville -- both land-based gaming facilities that are adjacent to the water -- pay $508,000 into the Tidelands Trust fund annually.