Today, Vice President Harris announced that the Department of Commerce has recommended $9.9 million for projects across Mississippi to make communities and the economy more resilient to climate change, as part of the Investing in America agenda. Across Mississippi, three projects will create jobs and boost economic and environmental outcomes for coastal communities. The awards are made under the Biden Administration’s Climate-Ready Coasts initiative funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) with additional funds leveraged from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
“Marine debris removal is essential for keeping our waterways clean and accessible,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Thanks to funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we’re going to ensure that the Gulf of Mexico remains a healthy basin for diverse wildlife and an economic engine for Mississippi.”
Administered by the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Climate-Ready Coasts initiative is focused on investing in high-impact projects that create climate solutions by storing carbon; build resilience to coastal hazards such as extreme weather events, pollution and marine debris; restore coastal habitats that help wildlife and humans thrive; and provide employment opportunities.
“Mississippi’s recommended projects focus on removing debris from our waters, preventing microplastics and pollution from entering our waterways, and improving people’s access to and enjoyment of coastal areas,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “NOAA is proud to recommend and support this work, which aims to improve both the environment and people’s lives.”
These projects are part of NOAA’s nearly $6 billion total investment under BIL and IRA. Recommended projects and funding amounts in Mississippi include:
- Coordinated Large Marine Debris Removal in the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico Alliance: $7.7 million
Funding Source: Marine Debris Removal Competition
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance will administer a regional competitive grant program for large marine debris removal in the Gulf of Mexico. The project will also remove previously identified abandoned and derelict vessels across Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Projects in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas are potentially eligible for future funding under this grant program.
- Understanding, Mitigation and Prevention of Waste Plastic Marine Debris in the Gulf Coast
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium: $1.9 million
Funding Source: Marine Debris Challenge Competition
The burgeoning problem of microplastics will be addressed through a multi-state partnership including 10 wastewater treatment facilities in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The project aims to improve microplastic understanding, develop microplastic reduction techniques, measure microplastic concentration, and enhance collaboration around addressing microplastics in Gulf Coast communities, specifically urban communities, communities that are predominantly Black, and rural, isolated communities.
- Creating a Multi-Beneficial Stormwater Park Using Nature-Based Solutions
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources: $319,000
Funding Source: National Estuarine Research Reserve System Habitat Protection and Restoration Grants
This project will focus on the development of a community stormwater park that will reduce flooding and nonpoint source pollution for the community of Moss Point. Funding will be used to determine the feasibility and impact of a stormwater park; create a maintenance plan; create designs that prioritize diversity, inclusion, and community engagement; and promote activities to create a “shovel-ready” project.
Scott Smullen, email@example.com