STONEVILLE, Mississippi (March 4, 2019) – Wildlife Mississippi praises Congress for its bipartisan support of the Natural Resources Management Act, which permanently authorizes the use of a portion of offshore oil and gas revenues for land conservation, outdoor recreation development, and historical preservation.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill last week with overwhelming bipartisan support. The U.S. Senate passed the measure earlier last month, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it. All of Mississippi’s Congressional delegation – Guest, Kelly, Hyde-Smith, Palazzo, Thompson, and Wicker – voted in favor of the bill.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was permanently authorized for the first time since its original passage in 1964, has generated nearly $150 million for land conservation and outdoor recreation projects in Mississippi since it was established, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior. The fund is administered by the National Park Service and state agencies such as the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Grants from the fund have paid for the establishment or expansion of federal projects such as Delta National Forest, Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge, and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It has also paid for the development of local parks and ballfields, historic battlefield preservation, and the Forest Legacy Program.

“With the passage of the National Resources Management Act, Congress has shown its strong support for protecting and developing important public lands and outdoor recreation opportunities in Mississippi and across the nation,” said James L. Cummins, Wildlife Mississippi’s executive director. “We are also pleased that the bill designates the home of civil rights activists Medgar and Myrlie Evers in Jackson as a national monument.”

The bill passed last month included a number of new preservation projects, many of them in the West, and it also dedicated $15 million per year for increasing public access to existing lands for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities.

Wildlife Mississippi is a private, non-profit conservation organization based in Stoneville. Its work focuses on habitat conservation, conservation policy, conservation education, and outdoor recreation. It has offices in Amory, Biloxi and Hattiesburg. The organization has protected, restored, or enhanced more than 500,000 acres in the state since its founding in 1997.

Wildlife Mississippi’s mission is to conserve Mississippi’s lands, waters, and natural heritage in order to sustain a clean environment and a healthy economy.

STONEVILLE, MS (December 12, 2018) – A new Farm Bill passed by Congress this week includes important improvements to federal programs for wildlife conservation, water-quality protection, and forest management in Mississippi, said James L. Cummins of Wildlife Mississippi.

“The bill increases annual funding for wetland restoration and protection on private lands and adds flexibility to other provisions such as the Conservation Reserve Program,” said Cummins, the organization’s executive director. “We’ve worked hard to ensure that this legislation continues and improves programs and funding that are vital to conservation and forestry in Mississippi. These and other programs help us maintain healthy deer and waterfowl populations, are important to the restoration of black bears, and improve our rivers and streams.”

Nearly 900,000 acres of private lands in Mississippi are enrolled in two key conservation programs authorized by the Farm Bill: Wetland Reserve Easements and the Conservation Reserve Program. In those programs, landowners are paid to restore and set aside land for wildlife habitat, erosion control, and protection of streams and drinking water.

“The health of our lands and waters should be a concern to everyone,” Cummins said. “Mississippians, especially, rely on healthy and productive lands and waters for their livelihoods and for recreation.”.

Agriculture is Mississippi’s No. 1 industry. Outdoor recreation, including hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, generates an estimated $8 billion in annual consumer spending in the state.

Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit conservation organization based in Stoneville and working throughout the state, has advocated for improvements to Farm Bill conservation programs since the organization was formed more than 20 years ago.

The Farm Bill, typically renewed every five years, represents the single largest source of federal spending for conservation. An estimated $6 billion in annual spending for conservation is authorized by the new bill. Conservation spending is a small percentage of the bill; most spending is authorized for nutrition programs and aid to farmers.

The bill, which awaits President Donald Trump’s signature, includes provisions to:

  • Increase annual spending for Wetland Reserve Easements, which are important to migratory birds.
  • Increase the cap on the percentage of each county’s farm acreage – from 10 percent to 15 percent – that can be enrolled in Wetland Reserve Easements.
  • Allow more acreage to be enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, including native grasslands, which are important to monarch butterflies, northern bobwhite, wild turkey.
  • Improve and expand various authorities for managing forests.
  • Prioritize research on Chronic Wasting Disease, which affects white-tailed deer. The fatal disease has started to affect deer in the state, and some fear it could lead to population declines. Mississippi is one of the nation’s top states for deer hunting.

Click here for more details on the 2018 Farm Bill and the history of the legislation.

STONEVILLE, Mississippi -- Wildlife Mississippi applauds President Donald Trump’s intent to nominate Aurelia Skipwith as the new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director. Wildlife Mississippi works with the Service to benefit Mississippi’s fish and wildlife and the lands and waters they need to thrive.

Skipwith, an attorney and scientist, currently serves as deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks at the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Service is an arm of the Department. The Service manages 15 national wildlife refuges in Mississippi, operates the Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery in Tupelo, and works for the protection and restoration of more than 50 birds, fish, mussels, plants, and other species in the state that are listed as endangered or threatened by the federal government.

“We have strong and productive partnerships with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Mississippi,” said James L. Cummins, Wildlife Mississippi’s executive director. “We look forward to working with Ms. Skipwith to further these relationships and this important work for the state’s rich natural resources and the people who value and enjoy them.”

Wildlife Mississippi works on a number of habitat conservation and conservation education efforts with the Service and other federal and state agencies. They include working to protecting and restoring the Lower Mississippi River, Buttahatchie River, Bayou Pierre, and Pearl River systems; restoring wetlands, coastal habitats, prairies, longleaf forests, and other habitats with private landowners; and developing the Theodore Roosevelt Visitor Center in the Mississippi Delta.

“I have had the privilege of working with Ms. Skipwith in her current capacity at the Department of the Interior. The nation is fortunate to be the beneficiary of her service,” Cummins said. “Furthermore, she has Mississippi roots as her parents are from Columbus. I recently spent a large part of a day with her, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Senator Roger Wicker, Governor Phil Bryant, and many of Medgar Evers’ family announcing the induction of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers home into the American Civil Rights Network. She provided the leadership that ensured the home was added to this very important network.”

Wildlife Mississippi is a private, non-profit conservation organization based in Stoneville. Its work focuses on habitat conservation, conservation policy, conservation education, and outdoor recreation. It has offices in Amory, Biloxi and Hattiesburg. The organization has protected, restored, or enhanced more than 500,000 acres in the state since its founding in 1997.

FLOWOOD, Mississippi — Entergy Mississippi is helping move Mississippi's largest urban natural area closer to a public opening.

A $150,000 Entergy grant will help fund trails, wildlife-viewing areas, a parking area, a pavilion and other amenities at the Fannye Cook Natural Area in Flowood. The grant will leverage additional funding from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Federal Highway Administration, and other sources.

To commemorate its grant, the company also erected a nesting platform at the site for bald eagles or other raptors.

The natural area covers 2,700 acres three times the size of New York City s Central Park along the Pearl River. More than 800,000 people live within 60 miles of the site, which stretches from near Airport Road in Flowood north to near the Ross Barnett Reservoir spillway.

The Fannye Cook Natural Area is owned and managed by Wildlife Mississippi. The nonprofit conservation organization is working to develop public access to the site, much of which is forested, to allow for conservation education and outdoor recreation such as walking, biking, wildlife viewing, paddling, fishing, hunting for kids and wounded veterans, and other activities.

"Entergy Mississippi strives to improve the quality of life for our customers and employees who live, work and raise families here, said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. We focus our efforts on improving the environment and on education, and this grant helps do both. ... Having a developed site like this also makes metro Jackson more livable and attractive for economic development. Surveys show that quality of life is a top factor in companies searching for new locations. Communities that build and maintain sustainable green spaces are more likely to attract young labor."

Wildlife Mississippi dedicated the Fannye Cook Natural Area in 2016, naming it for the late Fannye Cook, a Mississippi conservation pioneer and the first director of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The site had been owned by the Mississippi Department of Transportation and was transferred to Wildlife Mississippi for long-term management.

"Entergy's generous support moves us closer to our goal of providing a natural area where people can learn about, experience and enjoy the natural world in the heart of Mississippi s largest metropolitan area, said George Walker III, Wildlife Mississippi s President. Through conservation education programs, this site will also help us demonstrate the importance of protecting water and air quality, providing wildlife habitat and managing our natural resources in sustainable ways based on sound science."

Wildlife Mississippi is celebrating its 20th year of conserving Mississippi s lands, waters and wildlife. The organization has protected, restored or enhanced approximately 500,000 acres in the state. Its mission is to conserve Mississippi s lands, waters and natural heritage in order to sustain a clean environment and a healthy economy.

Entergy Mississippi provides electricity to approximately 447,000 customers in 45 counties. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11 billion and more than 13,000 employees.