As the work to clean up beaches, waterways and the Mississippi Sound continues, four of 16 projects are finished and two others are nearing completion. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which heads the multi-agency effort with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and other partners, is moving forward with ten other projects.
Of the $230m allocated for Mississippi’s marine debris removal, $222m is part of an intra-agency agreement that began October 1, 2006. So far approximately $8.5m has been spent on the four completed projects.
Three of the four completed projects were initial test sites for the marine debris removal initiative: Enger Street in Jackson County, Henderson Point in Harrison County, and Jordan River Isles in Hancock County. The fourth completed site includes the Pearlington area and the Pearl River.
In the three coastal counties, contractors are putting the finishing touches on two additional projects. One cleaned beaches from mean high tide to one-half mile into the Mississippi Sound and the other cleared inland waterways north of Interstate 10. More than 13,000 cubic yards of debris has been removed in the coastal project and another 15,800 from the inland project. The anticipated costs of these two projects total around $7.5m.
A separate project to clean up the Mississippi Sound from one-half mile out to four miles out is tentatively scheduled to begin late-February. The contract for cleaning debris from Bayou Caddy, Heron Bay, Lakeshore, Bayou Phillip, and Four Dollar Bayou in Hancock County was recently awarded.
Eight other projects are in progress, but are yet to be bid out. Three are in Harrison County, three in Jackson County, and two in Hancock County.
More than 54,000 cubic yards of debris have come out of the water since marine cleanup began last September. Funding for the marine debris removal projects is 100 percent federally funded until May 15, 2007.