JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On behalf of the Gulf Coast legislative delegation, Secretary of State Michael Watson (R-Miss.) presented the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) with a check for $10,314,561. The funds represent the Tidelands Trust Funds amounts collected during Fiscal Year 2022 for use during Fiscal Year 2023.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 12, the Secretary of State’s Office has transferred a total of $187,489,980 to the Mississippi Gulf Coast through the Tidelands Trust Funds program.

“As the first Secretary of State from the Coast, I have a unique perspective of our Tidelands and the significance of returning these funds to help preserve such a beautiful and important resource, improve public access and spur economic development when possible,” said Watson. “All of Mississippi benefits when the Coast works together to manage some of the state’s most treasured property.”

Revenue for the Tidelands Trust Funds 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 and preservation of Mississippi tidelands and the increase of public access areas on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

“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,” said Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins. “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.”