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Secretary Watson presents $11.4M Tidelands Trust Funds check to MDMR

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) has been granted $11,455,247 in Tidelands Trust Funds amounts collected during Fiscal Year 2023.

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson presented a check to the MDMR on behalf of the Gulf Coast legislative delegation on Tuesday, stating that the funds will be used during FY2024.

“As the first secretary of state from the coast, I have a unique perspective of the significance of the Mississippi Tidelands and ensuring we preserve such a beautiful and important resource, improve public access, and spur economic development when possible,” Watson said. “All of Mississippi benefits when the coast works together to manage some of the state’s most treasured property.”

In all, the secretary of state’s office has transferred nearly $200 million to the Mississippi Gulf Coast through the Tidelands Trust Funds over nearly three decades.

Originally created by the Tidelands Act in 1989, the program’s mission has been to carry out the state’s policy to support the public’s use of the public trust tidelands and submerged land of the state of Mississippi.

“The Tidelands Trust Funds represent a large annual investment from the state in coastal marsh preservation, marine education, and environmental conservation of Mississippi’s marine resources,” MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins stated. “Our agency appreciates Secretary Watson and our legislators for allowing us to manage these funds that help our communities access the beautiful waterways along our Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

Revenue for the program is generated by leases on lands owned by the state in trust for the people of Mississippi and assessments for onshore gaming operations.

Generated funds are dispersed to MDMR for programs and projects geared toward conservation, preservation of Mississippi tidelands, and increased public access to the Gulf Coast.

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