Vol. 16 Issue 6 July 2019
News from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
MDEQ Investigates HAB and Issues Water Contact Warnings

MDEQ's Beach Monitoring Program has been busy since June investigating the presence of a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) in the nearshore waters off the entire length of beach in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties.

As a result, the agency has issued water contact warnings for all 21 sampling stations . MDEQ also issued a water contact warning July 2 for a segment of the Jourdan River in Hancock County from the I-10 bridge to the mouth of the river into St. Louis Bay. 

MDEQ encourages the public to be aware of their surroundings and notify the agency and/or local emergency management officials if they see HAB in other sections of the Jourdan River or anywhere else on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is continuing to test water and fish samples to ensure seafood safety. MDMR is advising fishermen to avoid catching seafood in waters where algae is present. However, recreational and commercial fishing off-shore in Mississippi waters remains unaffected by the algal bloom and is safe for consumption. 

MDEQ Executive Director Gary Rikard recently met with Governor Phil Bryant, MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins, and other officials about the ongoing issue (photo below).

MDEQ encourages the public to sign up for updates via emails and texts from the beach program here .
Comment on Mississippi Grand Bay Supplemental Plan

The Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group has released a draft supplement to the  2016-2017 Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment that proposes to provide additional Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitat restoration type funding to the Grand Bay Land Acquisition and Habitat Management Project. The total proposed $10 million in activities in the Draft Supplemental Plan would support additional land acquisition, habitat management, and performance monitoring within the project’s action area.

Read the Draft Supplemental Plan and how to submit comments here .

Treasury Approves Three RESTORE Act Projects

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently approved funding for three RESTORE Act projects that are administered by MDEQ.

Two projects under the Mississippi Gulf Coast Water Quality Improvement Program were approved--upgrades for the City of Gautier Old Spanish Trail wastewater system ($2.3 million) and for the Harrison County Utility Authority Long Beach wastewater system ($3.05 million). The Mississippi Gulf Coast Water Quality Improvement Program seeks to construct, repair, and improve stormwater and wasterwater systems for a long range impact on the Gulf Coast's water quality. In addition, approximately $2 million was approved for the University of Southern Mississippi's Marine Research Center for equipment and to support efforts to grow the maritime technology industry.

For information about restoration activities in Mississippi, visit here .

Ozment Receives A&WMA Award

MDEQ's Ryan Ozment recently received the Outstanding Young Professional Award from the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA). This award recognizes an individual who is pursuing excellence in their career in the environmental profession and has made a valuable contribution to A&WMA by serving in a leadership position. Ozment has served as Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chair of the Mississippi Chapter of A&WMA . In addition, she created and chaired the Mississippi Science Fair Award Committee. The committee established the Justice Manning Award for Environmental Excellence that is given to projects that address issues of environmental responsibility and sustainable development at the seven regional and statewide fairs.
Breakfast with the Regulators

The Air & Waste Management Association's (A&WMA) Mississippi Chapter held their annual "Breakfast with the Regulators" with MDEQ senior staff on July 17 for updates and information from the agency. The event is open to A&WMA members and visitors.

Mississippi's FEMA Risk MAP and Flood Mapping Program Status Update

MDEQ's Office of Geology produces quarterly updates on the status of ongoing FEMA Risk MAP and Flood Mapping projects. Risk MAP provides high quality flood maps and information, tools to better assess the risk from flooding, and planning and outreach support to communities to help them take action to reduce flood risk. Read the Update .

MRC Annual Fall Recycling Conference

 The Mississippi Recycling Coalition's (MRC) annual fall recycling conference will be held October 29 and 30 in Oxford. Registration details will be available soon on the MRC website .
MDEQ Seeks New Environmental Leaders for enHance Membership
The MDEQ enHance environmental Stewardship program is seeking its next class of environmental leaders in the state. Interested manufacturers, local governments, institutions and other organizations are encouraged to apply. 
The application period is open now and closes September 30. More information about the program, including how to apply and access to online applications, is available at enhance.ms .  In addition, information and questions on the qualifications of the program may be directed to Mr. Khairy Abu-Salah .
Upcoming Hazardous Materials Workshop

MDEQ's Pollution Prevention Program (P2) is hosting a Hazardous Materials Workshop on September 11 at the McGowan Workforce Training Center at the Ridgeland campus of Holmes Community College. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. More information will be available soon. For questions, please contact Mr. Khairy Abu-Salah with MDEQ .
MDEQ Announces Waste Grants to Local Governments
MDEQ’s Waste Division announced on July 15 the award of 15 Solid Waste Assistance Grants and/or Waste Tire Grants to local governments for a variety of solid waste management projects and programs. A list of the press releases on these awards can be found here .
Local governments may apply for Solid Waste Assistance Grants to support a variety of different programs to enhance local solid waste management. The grants are available to prevent and clean up unauthorized dumps; to aid in hiring local solid waste enforcement officers; for public education efforts on solid waste disposal and recycling; and, to establish programs for the collection of household hazardous wastes, white goods, electronics, bulky wastes, and recyclables.
MDEQ is proud to support the efforts of local governments to improve solid waste conditions in their communities. Local governments interested in applying for these grants in this coming fiscal year may contact the Waste Division at 601-961-5171 for more information.  
Helpful Public Notice Webpages

Public Notices and Hearings from across MDEQ are gathered on this page for easy access by the public.

A recently created webpage lists all the water contact advisories currently in effect for various water bodies across the state.
Photo of the Month

Small unnamed tributary in Claiborne County with Pre-loess terrace gravel and Catahoula Sandstone in the stream channel. Shot captured during outcrop field work for recent geologic mapping by James Starnes, Office of Geology.