Wildlife Mississippi Dedicates Natural Area in Rankin County

Plans are unveiled for an urban wildlife area in honor of
Mississippi’s Mother Nature, Fannye Cook.

Jackson, Miss.—Wildlife Mississippi, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) and unveiled plans today for Mississippi’s largest urban natural area. The site was named for Fannye Cook, a pioneer conservationist and scientist in Mississippi. She was the driving force behind the creation of the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission (now called the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks) and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

"We greatly appreciate the confidence that the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have placed in Wildlife Mississippi to not only be the stewards of this wonderful property but to provide outdoor recreation opportunities to generations of Mississippians to come," said George Walker III, president of Wildlife Mississippi. "And it is especially fitting that this area be named after Ms. Fannye Cook, the pioneer of wildlife conservation in Mississippi.”

At today’s event, Commissioner Dick Hall, chairman, Mississippi Transportation Commission,
 officially transferred ownership of the natural area in Rankin County to Wildlife Mississippi and presented Walker with the land deed to the property, which borders the Pearl River and covers approximately 2,700 acres.
 In 2009, MDOT purchased the property from International Paper for the purpose of establishing a new mitigation bank to offset unavoidable losses of wetlands incurred during road construction projects in the Pearl River Basin. The bank will support the widening of the State Route 25 and other projects in the basin.

“There are several positive factors that come with the decision to transfer this land to Wildlife Mississippi,” Hall said. “First, there’s no chance it will cost state taxpayers any more money. Second, the land will continue to help with flood relief for the City of Flowood and continue benefiting several projects in the Jackson-Metro area.”

Plans unveiled by Wildlife Mississippi detail how the property will be used for recreational purposes including kayaking, canoeing, walking/hiking, bird watching and environmental education. The City of Jackson receives most of its drinking water from the Pearl River, and maintaining the site as a natural area will help protect the quality of the river’s water. It is the largest protected natural floodplain habitat in the Jackson-Metro.

The property is more than three times larger than New York City’s Central Park and is among the top 20 largest urban green spaces east of the Mississippi River. Several imperiled species live on or near the site, and more than 820,000 people live within 60 miles of the site, which is easily reachable from its entrance off of Lakeland Drive in Flowood.

Cook began the first comprehensive effort to collect and catalog the plants and animals of Mississippi in the 1920s and continued this work until her death in 1964. She traveled the state at her own expense to campaign for a statewide wildlife conservation program. As a result of these efforts, the Mississippi Legislature created the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission in 1932.

“We believe that the best way to honor Fannye Cook is by following her example,” said Libby Hartfield, Wildlife Mississippi’s Fannye Cook Natural Area Coordinator. “She believed that Mississippians needed access to natural habitats and the wildlife they support so they would come to respect and cherish nature’s gifts that we all inherit. This property has the incredible advantage of being accessible to more than 800,000 people within an hour’s drive.”


Fines for not reporting tonnages

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August 30, 2016:
Did you know there is a $5,000 fine for not reporting your tonnage to the Institute for Water Resources?
Please find a letter I received detailing the fines here.
It states, "that owners, agents, master, and clerks of vessels and other craft plying upon the navigable waters of the United States, and all individuals and corporations engaged in transporting their own goods upon the navigable waters of the United States shall furnish such statements relative to vessels, passengers, freight, and tonnage as may be required by the Secretary of the Army..."
It further reads, "All information and data sent... is required to be held in confidence and will not be released outside of the federal government in order to maintain the confidentiality of proprietary information" Failure to provide statements required are subject to the following penalties:
  • For each and every offense, a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding two months.
  • A civil penalty of up to $2,500 per violation.
  • Denial of passage through locks and canals.
If you are unsure if you should be reporting, I would like to share with you the below information IRPT published in February of 2015. I encourage you to take a look at the ENG forms as well.
IRPT Members can log on to their account to view the tonnage reporting webinar using the drop-down box.
If you are still unsure whether you should be reporting, you can contact me directly or of course, contact the Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center at (504) 862-1414.
Aimee Andres
Executive Director
Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc.
One Confluence Way
East Alton, IL 62024
Phone (618) 468-3010
Rediscover the strength of America’s Inland Rivers
On February 11th, 2015:
Good afternoon,
If you missed the January webinar for tonnage reporting, Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals will host a second webinar on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 2:00 pm central time. 
  • Do you own a barge?
  • Do you lease a barge?
  • Do you dredge materials either for channel maintenance or mining purposes?
If you answered yes to any of the above, are you reporting accurately?
The tonnages are required to be reported by the shipper via vessel operation reports (VORs). There are 4 ENG Forms available for monthly reporting.
  • ENG 3925:  Statement of Freight and Passengers Carried, submitted principally by operators of deep-draft vessels.
  • ENG 3925B:  Optional Form for Use by inland and intracoastal operators in lieu of ENG Form 3925.
  • ENG 3925C:  For reporting movements of CONTAINERIZED CARGO
  • ENG 3925P:  Optional form for use by passenger vessel operators in lieu of ENG Form 3925 for reporting movements of passengers
In addition, terminal operators can voluntarily submit dock receipts via ENG 3926.
Please join us for a free webinar regarding tonnage reporting on the inland waterways.
The Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center, a division of the Army Corps of Engineers will outline the specifics of who, what , where, when and why of reporting tonnages shipped on the inland waterways.


MWRA 2016 Annual Mississippi Water Conference

Welcome to the MWRA’s inaugural water blog.  I will do my best to provide timely and meaningful information on events of interest to Mississippi’s water management community. 

We just wrapped up our annual Mississippi Water Conference.  MWRA’s Conference is intended to promote fellowship between Mississippi’s diverse water family and to strengthen and expand personal and professional networks and relationships.  This year we tried something new and returned to something old with the conference.  For the first time we had two parallel tracks of speakers one for water management and the other for ports.  On the waterside, we returned to our roots so to speak by inviting some of federal and state agencies that either regulate, monitor or provide technical and financial assistance relevant to water resources management and development.  Our first session, moderated by Dr. Jonathan Pote from Mississippi State University had speakers from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to provide a broad, general overview of their non-regulatory, water programs.  Mr. Jamie Crawford from the Pickering Firm, Inc. moderated the second session, which got us down to the project level with presentations from the U.S. Geological Survey, MDEQ’s Dam Safety Program and NRCS’s Watershed Rehabilitation Program.  I moderated the final session which was a roundtable evaluation of the new, old approach selection of topics and speakers.  One topic that came up was the possibility of MWRA partnering with a water district or levee board  to organize a smaller, more focused river basin workshop to engage county and municipal leaders to discuss their water concerns and try to transform them into viable project ideas.  Also, planning for the 2017 Conference will begin before you know it.  Please share your thoughts and suggestions for topics or speakers for the 2017 Conference with us.

Jeff Ballweber
Special Projects Director, 
Pickering Firm