Task Force Information
1. What is the SOS Conservation Task Force?
The CTF is a coalition of state leaders and experts in conservation of natural resources and wildlife. These people come from state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private consulting roles. The Task Force seeks to enhance conservation efforts around the state to improve the environment for people, wildlife, and business.Back to top
2.Who serves on the Task force?
- James Cummins, Wildlife Mississippi
- Larry Pugh, MS Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP)
- Russell Bozeman, MS Forestry Commission
- Ashlee Smith, MS Wildlife Federation
- Craig Ray, VisitMS
- Chris Wells, MS Department of Environmental Quality
- Liz Barber, Barber and Mann
- Mike McCormick, MFBF
- Russ Walsh, MDWFP
- Renee Collini, MSU Sea Grant
- Tedrick Ratcliff, MS Forestry Assn.
- Don Brazil, Foundation for MDWFP
- Nick Ivy, MSWCC
- Alex Littlejohn, The Nature Conservancy
- Ed Penny, Ducks Unlimited
- Frank Howell, Delta Council
- General Joe Spraggins, MDMR
- Don Underwood, Consultant
- Mike Birdsong, Bayer
- Robert Taylor, Taylor Group
- B Jones, Consultant
- Shannon Kelardy, US Forest Service
- Kurt Readus, USDA
- Read Hendon, USM Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Back to top
3.Who is benefiting?
Proactive and responsible conservation benefits all people. We seek to protect and conserve scarce natural resources including soil (and the resources therein), water, wildlife, and air. In aggregate, our natural resources provide the building blocks of life itself: oxygen, food, clean water. Some natural resources, such as shrimp and oysters, provide a livelihood for people. These creatures depend on specific aquatic conditions, and other creatures depend on these creatures for food. The delta aquifer provides water necessary for the irrigation of the nation’s most fertile region and is a mainstay to Mississippi’s agrarian economy. Many creatures and plants enhance quality of life through pastimes like hunting or even simple aesthetic pleasure.
All regions of the state will benefit from good conservation, and it will not create disadvantages for any localities or industries.
4.What are the goals of the Task Force?
The first goal of the CTF is to build a collaborative network among disparate agencies, NGOs, and stakeholders. Many already have good relationships, but we want all conservation organizations to share goals, which will serve as a force multiplier for conservation efforts. One important long-term goal for the CTF is to develop a comprehensive state conservation plan. This will serve as a conservation roadmap for the whole state and help all participants work together toward unified goals. Securing dependable and versatile funding streams is important for the improvement of conservation in the state as well and is necessary for forward movement.Back to top
5.How does this relate to the SOS Office?
The SOS is State Lands Commissioner and the trustee of the state’s tidelands. Therefore, the SOS has a vested interest in the wellbeing of both terrestrial and marine resources. The SOS agency’s reach and visibility puts us in a unique position coordinate efforts to create an effective and comprehensive state-wide conservation plan.Back to top
6.What is the CTF doing right now?
- Currently, the CTF is working on a few things:
- Strengthening relationships within and without: Meetings and outings are aimed at developing strategy but also building rapport among the team. The CTF is also building relationships with outside organizations that want to get involved in conservation.
- The CTF is looking at how certain legislation (specifically HB 606, HB 1425, and SB 2822) will affect team efforts. Each bill has the potential to open funding streams that can have a great impact on conservation in the state, and to ensure money is spent effectively and efficiently.
- The CTF is exploring what a comprehensive statewide conservation plan will look like. The plan is a long-term goal. It will require buy-in from many people, significant funding, and a great deal of planning and researching.