15 BP oil spill projects you need to know about

Print More

The 2010 BP oil spill – one of the largest environmental disasters in history – has led to some 50 federally funded projects pouring $388.4 million into restoration of the Mississippi coastal area alone.

Mississippi Today put together a list of 15 eye-catching projects that are geared toward revamping the ecology and economy connected to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. These projects are also aimed at sustaining those restoration efforts in the decades to come.

Based on assessments by Mississippi government officials, nonprofits and others, the projects are designed to provide ecological restoration, economic development or education, according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Some projects have been completed but many are funded little by little each year, so it may take years before they are all completed.

The money spent on these projects is different from BP settlement money that will pay $750 million over 17 years to the Mississippi Budget Contingency Fund for appropriation by the state legislature. In 2016, Mississippi received $150 million from that fund.

Here’s our list:

 

Completed projects

Oyster Cultch Early Restoration
Estimated Cost: $10.1 million total ($9 million spent through June 2016)

1-oyster-cultch

This project focused on existing reefs within the western Mississippi Sound and brought in a hard surface for oyster larvae to attach and grow from. Nearly 200,000 cubic yards of the cultch material that oysters attach to were placed over about 1,430 acres. According to MDEQ, the construction portion of this project is complete, and monitoring of these reefs for growth of oysters will continue for at least six years. Mississippians can expect to see oyster production fit for harvesting in these areas within three to six years.

Artificial Reef Enhancement
Estimated Cost: $2.3 million total ($1.8 million spent through June 2016)

2-artificial-reef

This project enhanced reefs near the shoreline in hopes of developing a robust food chain that should improve the overall nearshore marine ecosystem. The habitat provides shelter for small crustaceans and mollusks, juvenile shrimp, crab and oysters.

Ongoing projects

Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park
Estimated cost: $4.7 million total ($158,000 spent through June 2016)

3-popps-ferry-map

The 10-acre Popp’s Ferry Causeway is a parcel of land and marsh west of Biloxi. This project will expand the park to include walkways, boardwalks, fishing piers, a new roadway with parking lots and a bait and kayak rental shop. A land survey and geotechnical engineering have been completed. Engineering and design work has progressed to 30 percent complete, according to MDEQ.

Pascagoula Beachfront Promenade
Estimated Cost: $3.8 million total ($208,000 spent through June 2016)

4-pascagoula-beachfront

This project will provide two miles of concrete pathway along the beach and Beach Boulevard in Pascagoula. The list of improvements includes outdoor shower stations, water fountains and other amenities. Construction began in June 2016 and is expected to be completed in fall 2017.

Hancock County Marsh Living Shoreline
Estimated Cost: $50 million ($2.8 million spent through June 2016)

5-hancock-county-marsh-living-shoreline-2-sept-27

This project will create about six miles of shoreline near Louisiana where there have been high erosion rates. The project will also spur about 46 acres of marsh and 46 acres of subtidal oyster reefs in the area. Most construction work is expected to finish by the end of the year, while some construction will take place in 2017.

Bike and Pedestrian Use Enhancements Project at Davis Bayou
Estimated Cost: $6.9 million

6-bikeped

The project will widen road surfaces on Park Road and Robert McGhee Road within the Davis Bayou campground in Ocean Springs to accommodate multiple-use bicycle and pedestrian lanes.

INFINITY Science Center
Estimated Cost: $10.4 million total ($3.6 million spent through June 2016)

7-infinity

This project will design and install nine indoor interactive exhibits to educate the public about the coastal estuarine ecosystem and the Gulf of Mexico. All exterior components (i.e. Tram Tours of Possum Walk Trail, Biome Boardwalks, Improved Pedestrian Access) have been completed and are open for public use. The first three interior exhibits are nearing completion and are anticipated to be installed by the end of the year.

Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries
Estimated Cost: $30 million ($430,000 spent through June 2016)

8-restoring-living-shoreline-map

This project will restore intertidal and subtidal reefs and improve the shoreline in four bays: Grand Bay, Graveline Bay, Back Bay of Biloxi and St. Louis Bay. The project is currently undergoing design work and field studies.

Design Challenge for Improvement of Water Quality from Beach Outfalls
Estimated Cost: $500,000 ($66,000 spent through June 2016)

9-design-challenge-map

MDEQ is hosting a design challenge seeking ideas from the public on how to improve the water quality of storm-water outfalls to reduce their negative impact on marine life and resources. Registration for the Beach Outfalls Challenge begins Jan. 9.

Oyster Restoration and Management
Estimated Cost: $11.7 million ($158,000 spent through June 2016)

10-oyster-restoration

This project is meant to replenish and protect oyster populations in Mississippi through increasing oyster reef habit acreage and productivity. The full-scale oyster gardening program is expected to begin in April 2017.

Projects recently announced

University of Southern Mississippi Oyster Hatchery
Estimated Cost: $7.7 million

12-hatchery

The money will fund the acquisition of an oyster hatchery and research center. The hatchery is state-of-the-art and will be operated by the University of Southern Mississippi.

Salvation Army Center of Hope
Estimated Cost: $1.32 million

13-center-of-hope

Center for Hope, located in North Gulfport, plans to bolster workforce development on the Coast.

Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center
Estimated Cost: $3.52 million

14-coast-coliseum

This project will support capacity improvements at the facility.

Mississippi Marine Mammal and Turtle Conservation, Recovery and Monitoring Program
Estimated Cost: $9.9 million

15-marine-mammals

This project will invest more than $9.9 million in dolphins and sea turtles. It will also help establish Mississippi State University as a leader in marine veterinary science.

Upper Pascagoula River Nutrient Reduction Alternatives
Estimated Cost: $4 million

16-upper-pascagoula

This project seeks to improve water quality and benefit marine resources by creating conservation plans to reduce nutrient and sediment contributions in the Chunky-Okatibbee watersheds.