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. CTF members represent state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private organizations. 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, Visit Mississippi
- Chris Wells, MS Department of Environmental Quality
- Liz Barber, Barber and Mann
- Mike McCormick, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation
- Russ Walsh, MS Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP)
- Renee Collini, The Water Institute
- Tedrick Ratcliff, Claw Forestry
- Don Brazil, Foundation for MS Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP)
- Nick Ivy, Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Sommission
- Alex Littlejohn, The Nature Conservancy
- Ed Penny, Ducks Unlimited
- Frank Howell, Delta Council
- General Joe Spraggins, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
- Don Underwood, Consultant
- Mike Birdsong, Bayer
- Robert Taylor, Taylor Group
- B Jones, Consultant
- Shannon Kelardy, US Forest Service
- Kurt Readus, US Department of Agriculture
- Read Hendon, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Dr. Wes Burger, Mississippi State University College of Forest Resources
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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. 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.
In summary, every region of our state benefits from sound conservation practices.
4.What are the goals of the Task Force?
The first goal of the CTF is to build a collaborative network between state agencies, NGOs, and other 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-wide conservation plan. This will serve as a conservation roadmap for the Mississippi and help all participants work together toward unified goals. Securing funding streams is also important for conservation efforts in the state and is necessary for forward movement.Back to top
5.How does this relate to the SOS Office?
The SOS is State Lands Commissioner, the trustee of the state’s tidelands, and an ex-officio member of the Outdoor Stewardship Trust board of directors. 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?
- Through regular meetings and outings, the CTF is strengthening relationships, developing strategy, and building rapport among the team members and other stakeholders involved in conservation efforts.
- The CTF tracks how legislation will affect team efforts. Legislation has the potential to open funding streams that can have a great impact on conservation efforts in the state, as well as ensuring 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 and will require buy-in from all stakeholders.