Vol. 18 Issue 3 March 2021
News from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
Air Quality Forecasts Begin April 1

MDEQ issues daily ozone and particulate matter forecasts from April 1 to October 31 for DeSoto County, the Jackson Metro Area, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. These forecasts keep residents and industries apprised of the current air quality conditions and alert them if an Air Quality Action Day is forecast. These forecasts are updated and available daily via the MDEQ website, MDEQ Twitter account, and daily emails. Read More.
Mississippi Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program
 
To keep the public informed of the condition of the waters along the beaches of the Coast, MDEQ leads a multi-agency task force that monitors the water quality at 21 stations. Water is tested for the presence of Enterococcus bacteria which is an indicator for fecal bacteria pollution. MDEQ issues advisories when bacteria levels exceed water quality criteria and pose an increased risk to human health. When an advisory is issued, water contact should be avoided.
 
The beach program’s website is updated with the issuing or lifting of advisories. The public can also be added to an email list and a texting group to be notified when advisories are issued or lifted. The information is also tweeted on the agency’s Twitter account
Deer Island Restoration Project Completed
 
Construction of a 90 acre Subtidal Reef off Deer Island was completed in December of 2020 by MDEQ’s Office of Restoration. This project is a component of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Early Restoration Phase IV Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries project following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. This subtidal reef will provide habitat for oysters and other bi-valves as well as habitat for a community of other species such as tunicates, fish, crabs, worms, bryozoans, and barnacles. Read more about Mississippi's restoration efforts here.
MDEQ Announces Public Comment Period for the Triennial Review of Mississippi’s Water Quality Standards

The Clean Water Act requires all states to develop, review, revise, and adopt water quality standards every three years known as the triennial review. Water quality standards must include three components: (1) the designated uses for the state’s waterbodies, (2) the water quality criteria (narrative or numeric) necessary to protect those uses, and (3) antidegradation provisions to protect water quality. The public comment period ends March 29, and a public hearing will be held March 30. Read more including details about public comments.
MDEQ Complaints Responses Near Milestone

MDEQ's Complaint Tracking System (CTS) is close to reaching a milestone of 50,000 calls taken from the public. CTS was launched in 1999 to track calls from citizens, the subsequent reports, and the actions taken by the agency to resolve environmental complaints.

"Almost daily our staff interact with the public working to deal with environmental issues that may have a direct impact on their quality of life. I appreciate the diligent efforts of our staff over the years to address these complaints to resolution," said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director.

For environmental complaints call 1-888-786-0661. Each complaint is given a number, and the status of a complaint can be found here. For environmental spills or other emergencies, please call 1-800-222-6362.
Prehistoric Kosciusko Quartzite Quarry Identified in Holmes County 
By James E. Starnes, RPG

Outcrops of actual solid rocks always grabs our attention while working as a geologist in the coastal plain. Recently, I received a phone call to examine one. It is an area for which we published a geologic map just a few years ago so I knew what I was likely to encounter in the Claiborne age geology exposed at the surface in the area. Read More.
Fossil Road Show Video

MDEQ Geologists participate every year in the Fossil Road Show hosted by the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. This year the show was held virtually, and a video can be found here.
Photo of the Month

Jonathan Leard and James Starnes at Thompson Creek in Yazoo County holding a glaccially ice-rafted chert bolder taken by MDEQ's Brittney Miller. The Office of Geology is studying rocks and fossils in the Tinsley, Satartia, and Yazoo City area for geologic mapping projects funded by USGS's Cooperative StateMap program. These maps will be used for baseline environmental background by state and local governments, historical geology, paleontology, geoarchaeology, hydrogeology, civil engineering, geohazards, and mineral and aggregate resources. A new geologic map of the Tinsley area can be found here.