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MDMR to Hold Public Hearing March 27 on Proposed Gulfport Project

BILOXI, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) will hold a public hearing for a proposed project affecting portions of Turkey Creek and Bernard Bayou in Gulfport. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at the Good Deeds Community Center located at 15101 Madison St. in Gulfport.

Cavenham Forest Industries, LLC has filed an application with the MDMR requesting permission to construct environmental control and containment structures on its property adjacent to the confluence of Turkey Creek and Bernard Bayou in Gulfport. The applicant's request to construct the proposed structures is part of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated remediation project.

The proposal would entail the construction and installation of engineered subsurface barriers and earthen-fill caps for the containment of contaminants at the former wood treating facility. Two inlets, including approximately 0.85 acres of coastal wetlands, would also be filled along Turkey Creek to prevent migration of contaminants into the waterway. Approximately 925 linear feet of sheetpile bulkhead would be installed to retain the fill for the two inlets and to stabilize the shoreline along another section of Turkey Creek. Approximately 2.82 acres of non-tidal wetlands on the site would be impacted by control and containment measures.

The proposal also calls for excavation of existing uplands along Bernard Bayou and creation of water bottoms and emergent wetlands to compensate for the impact to coastal wetlands filled for the remediation project.

In addition, the applicant is requesting to construct a floodwater spillway in uplands above mean high water between Turkey Creek and Bernard Bayou to help alleviate loss of flood plain after construction. The concrete-lined spillway would only function during flood events and would be approximately 192 feet long, 84 feet wide and 3 feet deep. The applicant is required to request two variances to the Mississippi Coastal Program concerning adverse and cumulative environmental impacts of permanent filling of coastal wetlands and placement of vertical face structures.

In compliance with Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the applicant will request certification from the Office of Pollution Control that the above-mentioned activity will be in compliance with applicable provisions of the Act and appropriate requirements of the State Law.

The March 27 hearing will provide the opportunity for the community to submit comments concerning the proposed project. It is not a question-and-answer session; however, the applicant or a representative may make a brief presentation of the project at the opening of the hearing and will be available an hour prior to the meeting to answer questions regarding their proposed project. Additional information may be obtained by visiting the MDMR offices or Web site, www.dmr.ms.gov, or by calling 228-523-4109.

Any person wishing to make comments or objections to the proposed regulated activity must submit those comments in writing to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources at 1141 Bayview Ave., Biloxi, MS 39530, and the Office of Pollution Control, P.O. Box 2261, Jackson, MS 39225-2261 before 1 p.m. March 27, 2012.

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at www.dmr.ms.gov.

Contact: Jennifer Goldman Leirer
228-523-4101

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