Vol. 17 Issue 6 June 2020
News from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
MDEQ Offices Open

MDEQ offices are open to visitors; however, they are requested to follow social distancing and to wear a mask. Please observe any signs that may be posted in MDEQ buildings. For questions about guidelines for meetings and additional information, please contact MDEQ staff .
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 .
enHance Annual Workshop Rescheduled

The 2020  enHance  Annual Workshop and Awards Luncheon has been re-scheduled for Wednesday, August 19th. The meeting will be held at the Jackson Downtown Convention Center Hotel (formerly the Jackson Marriott). This annual event is sponsored by MDEQ and the Mississippi Manufacturers Association (MMA). The workshop will be held in a manner that is consistent with the guidelines of the CDC and the Mississippi State Department of Health regarding the COVID-19 conditions including social distancing provisions and other protective measures. 
 
Registration information and other meeting details can be found here . Additional information including an updated agenda will also be posted as soon as these plans are updated.  
 
Registrations and sponsorships that were previously paid for the postponed workshop from April will be valid for the rescheduled event. If you have questions on your previous registration or the registration for the upcoming event, please contact Barbara Hopkins with the MMA at  barbara@mma-web.org .  For other information on the workshop, please contact  Khairy Abu Salah  with MDEQ.    
MBRACE to Award $2.75 Million in Funding for Research Projects

It was recently announced that the Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE) is awarding $2.75 million for research on water quality and oyster reef sustainability in Mississippi. Four different projects will receive funding through 2022.

MBRACE is one of six Centers of Excellence Research Grants Programs established following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is designated as the Center of Excellence for Mississippi. The program allocates $26 million from the RESTORE Act Trust Fund, managed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, through MDEQ to MBRACE to support science, technology, and monitoring within the Gulf of Mexico region. Find out more .
Wallace Recognized as ITRC State Point of Contact of the Year

MDEQ's Thomas Wallace was recently recognized by the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) as the State Point of Contact of the Year. Over the course of his time with ITRC, Thomas has proven to be a reliable and earnest member of the State Engagement Program. Thomas has used his position with ITRC to benefit the State of Mississippi, where he is responsible for facilitating the state's use of ITRC guidance documents and training. Thomas has performed outreach on behalf of ITRC to recruit new members and consistently provides feedback on ITRC and State Engagement Program projects and initiatives.
Embracing the Gulf

To highlight the value and the vitality of the Gulf of Mexico region, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (Alliance) is implementing a Gulfwide awareness campaign called Embrace the Gulf (ETG) for the entire year of 2020. The goal of the education and awareness campaign is to promote the sustainability, beauty, and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico. The Alliance is highlighting five focus areas that make the Gulf of Mexico a special place: resilient coastal communities, prosperous industries, superior educational opportunities, thriving tourism, and healthy ecosystems. MDEQ has provided leadership and support of the Alliance since 2004 and currently serves as a lead for the Alliance’s Water Resources Team. Read More
EPA Releases Draft Criteria to Help Protect Lakes and Reservoirs

In May, EPA issued new, draft ambient water quality criteria recommendations for nutrients in lakes and reservoirs. The agency’s criteria recommendations serve as important resources that states and authorized tribes can use to protect public health, pets, and aquatic life from the adverse effects of excess nutrients in surface waters, including during the summer recreation season. Find out more .
EPA Makes it Easier for Consumers to Find Safe, Effective Disinfectant Products to Use Against the Novel Coronavirus

EPA has released its  List N Tool, a new web-based app that allows smart phone users and others to quickly identify disinfectant products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The agency also announced new actions to ensure that new disinfectant products that are safe and effective to use against SARS-CoV-2 can be added to EPA’s  List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 as quickly as possible . Read the EPA press release .
Jackson Area E-Waste Event Rescheduled

The Jackson metro area e-waste collection event that was scheduled for May 1 has been rescheduled for August 7 at the Mississippi Farmers Market. This event, sponsored by MDEQ, the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, Magnolia Data Solutions, and other local organizations invites businesses and residents to drop off discarded electronics for proper recycling. 
Mississippi’s Native Lithic Material Sources Published

In archaeology, “lithics” are stone artifacts that have been worked by human hands. In a science where anthropological theory of prehistoric cultures is pondered and debated largely on the examination of worked stone objects, an understanding of the presence of naturally-occurring stone or “native materials” throughout the local geology is an important piece of the archaeological record in the documentation of prehistoric aboriginal sites. The sourcing of these naturally-occurring materials provides the archaeologist and prehistory enthusiast with an understanding of a Mississippi’s past culture’s relationship with their available geological resources and how that relationship, including trade, may have evolved over time. 

The Office of Geology has published a fact-sheet map, Mississippi’s Native Lithic Material Sources , that contains the known native lithic resource materials of the state. The ability to identify rock types artifacts are made from and to source them to raw bedrock materials allows for a more thorough understanding and improved documentation of abundant aboriginal cultural resources. Soon to be available is an accompanying photograph gallery with comparative examples of the rock materials with information about the different bedrock geological resources that will incorporate links to Office of Geology literature for each of the geologic formations depicted on this map. 
Starnes An Author of Joint Study of The first Pliocene teleostean otoliths from the Gulf Coastal Plain

MDEQ Geologist James Starnes was an author of an article recently released in the Historical Biology journal entitled First Pliocene fish otolith assemblage from the Gulf Coastal Plain, Dauphin Island, Mobile County, Alabama. The article was the result of r esearch conducted at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in collaboration among the University of Alabama, MDEQ's Office of Geology, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the McWane Science Center. Information about the article can be found here .
Photo of the Month

Biloxi Beach taken by MDEQ's Brittney Miller. Find out about the Mississippi Beach Monitoring Program here .