Sun Herald, Biloxi

Gulfport’s USM Marine Research Center gets $2 million grant for upgrades

Sun Herald

The University of Southern Mississippi Marine Research Center is getting a $2 million grant from RESTORE Act funds connected to the BP oil spill, the state’s congressional representatives announced Friday afternoon.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality was awarded $2,019,655 to make improvements to the newly constructed center in the Port of Gulfport.

U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo issued a joint press release, saying the new upgrades will “help the university to grow the maritime technology industry in Mississippi and better monitor and understand the ocean.”

Specifically, it will be used for procurement of equipment to upgrade the two research and testing labs, one fabrication lab, and support equipment for field research.

The RESTORE Act of 2012 provides money to Gulf Coast states affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“The University of Southern Mississippi Marine Research Center is home to cutting-edge research that is helping us to understand our nation’s oceans better,” Wicker said. “This RESTORE Act funding will help USM upgrade this facility and continue advancing our state’s blue economy.” 

“The Marine Research Center is working hand-in-hand with state and federal agencies to study the effects of recent floodwater runoff and algae blooms on the Mississippi Sound,” Hyde-Smith said. “That is just one aspect of Southern Miss’ work on the Gulf Coast and why RESTORE Act funding is being directed to boost the research capabilities of the center.”

“My alma mater is already leading the charge of exploring America’s seafloors,” said Palazzo. “Providing them with improved tools to expand on that research through RESTORE Act funding is a smart investment into our own understandings of America’s oceans.”