Vol. 17 Issue 8 August 2020
News from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

MDEQ staff took part in Governor Tate Reeves' and state agencies' campaign in August to encourage people to wear masks (#MaskUpMS). As a reminder, MDEQ offices are open to visitors; however, they are requested to adhere to social distancing guidelines and to wear masks. Information related to COVID-19 and MDEQ can be found here.
Governor Tate Reeves Announces U.S. Treasury Approves $7.6 Million Grant for USM Oyster Hatchery

On August 12, Governor Tate Reeves announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury had approved a RESTORE Act grant award of $7.62 million for the construction of the University of Southern Mississippi Oyster Hatchery and Research Center, located at USM’s Gulf Coast Research Lab at Cedar Point in Ocean Springs. The grant is administered by MDEQ. Read the press release.
Governor Tate Reeves Announces U.S. Treasury Approves $6.6 Million Grant to Support PRCC

Governor Tate Reeves announced on July 27 that the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved a RESTORE Act grant award of $6.67 million to support Pearl River Community College's (PRCC) workforce training in Hancock County. 

These recently approved funds and other leveraged funds will be used for the construction of the PRCC workforce training center which is strategically located adjacent to Stennis International Airport and Hancock County High School. The grant is administered by MDEQ. Read more in the press release.
Virtual Restoration Summit

The Mississippi Restoration Summit hosted annually by MDEQ will be held virtually this year on November 10. The summit will include updates on Mississippi's restoration efforts resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Join MDEQ's restoration email list for updates and details as the summit draws closer. Information will also be posted on MDEQ's restoration webpage.
MDEQ Restoration IFB and RFP Opportunties

MDEQ's Office of Restoration currently has an Invitation for Bids (IFB) for the Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries – Graveline Bay and Grand Bay Intertidal and Subtidal Reef Construction project. There is also a Request for Proposals (RFP) for benthic habitat mapping services related to natural resource restoration projects available.
Hernando Receives Recognition for Brownfield Redevlopment

The City of Hernando recently received a Municipal Excellence Award from the Mississippi Municipal League for a brownfield redevelopment project. A public-private partnership among the city, MDEQ, the Mississippi Development Authority, and a local dentist resulted in a positive impact for the community using a Brownfield Community Wide Grant from EPA. The funding was used to focus on the downtown area to attract more businesses and redevelopment opportunities. A new restaurant, Uncle Bubba’s Barbecue, is now a local hot spot and has created a total of 50 jobs for the city. The second business, Social x Saint, is an upscale shop that offers unique and local pieces which allows residents to shop locally and support small businesses (see inserted photo).
Brownfields Funding Available

Funding for EPA’s Fiscal Year 2022 Brownfields grants is now available. Applications will be accepted until October 28, 2020. More information can be found on EPA’s website, MDEQ’s Brownfields webpage, or contact Thomas Wallace with MDEQ.
Sign Up for EPD Public Notices

The Environmental Permits Division (EPD) is transitioning to transmitting its public notices on a weekly basis by email. Anyone who wants to be added to the public notification email list can do so by signing up here.
Public Meetings

Meetings for the Commission on Environmental Quality, the Mississippi Environmental Quality Permit Board, and permit public hearings are continuing to be held virtually. For more information, how to participate, and agendas, please click on the links in the previous sentence.
enHance Annual Workshop Cancelled
The 2020 enHance Annual Workshop and Awards Luncheon scheduled for August 19 in Jackson has been cancelled. This annual workshop is jointly sponsored by MDEQ and the Mississippi Manufacturers Association to recognize those that go beyond the standard environmental compliance requirements to prevent pollution and reduce wastes. The planning committee looks to announce alternate online training opportunities in the near future as well as recognition of the new and renewing enHance members for 2020.   
Jackson Metro E-Waste Event Rescheduled

The e-waste collection event for the Jackson Metro area that was scheduled for August 7 has been rescheduled for October 30 at the Mississippi Farmers Market off High Street in Jackson. Find out more here.
New Paleobotanical Study on Smith County Co-authored by Starnes

A paleontological study was presented and published the last week of July at the Botanical Society of America’s virtual annual conference with collaborating author James Starnes of MDEQ’s Office of Geology, and others from the Smithsonian Institution, Delta State University, the University of South Alabama, and the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Biotechnical Information. Specimens of excellently preserved paleobotanical assemblage including a fossil flora consisting of an abundance of 30 million year old leaves and microfossils of pollen were collected for this study by Office of Geology staff and paleontologist George Phillips of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science from a rock outcrop in Smith County, Mississippi.  These rare plant fossils are from the Lower Oligocene age Forest Hill Formation which was once deposited near the distributary mouth of a coastal delta environment much similar to that of the lower Pascagoula River today. Other recent finding have been published by the authors on various other formations of different ages throughout central and south Mississippi including the Lower Oligocene age Bucatunna Formation, the Upper Oligocene Catahoula Formation, and the Miocene Hattiesburg Formation. Collectively these studies will demonstrate a new perspective of how these coastal Mississippi environments have changed over the course of millions of years.
Photo of the Month

This photo was taken at Cat Island in July by MDEQ’s Ethan Mayeu.