JACKSON, Miss.—Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. is partnering with a Mississippi nonprofit conservation organization to ensure the conservation of roughly 1,000 acres of wetlands and streams not far from where it plans to build a $1 billion-plus truck tire plant.
Continental is committing $5 million to a partnership with Wildlife Mississippi to support the purchase, restoration, protection and long-term stewardship of the land along the Bayou Pierre River, which runs through southern Hinds County, where Conti plans to build its plant.
"The land we acquired with Continental will help ensure the future of this fish species and improve one of Mississippi's most unique rivers," said Wildlife Mississippi Executive Director James Cummins.
"It is most gratifying to be a part of a partnership that will not only provide thousands of jobs for hard-working Mississippians, but is a tremendous investment in our state's environment. In the end, this partnership will make Mississippi a better place to live, work and raise a family."
Grant Bovim, project manager for the Conti plant, said, "It is important for Continental to work with local environmental groups to conserve the areas where we're investing. Since selecting central Mississippi as the new site of our tire plant, we are working closely with the state and local entities to identify needs and ways to support the community. Restoring and protecting these wetlands and streams is crucial to us as a leader in sustainable development."
Continental tentatively has scheduled a ground-breaking for early November.
Continental provided the funds for the purchase of the land, and Wildlife Mississippi will lead the restoration, protection and stewardship of it. The land contains critical habitats of various species, including the bayou darter, which is a federally threatened species, found nowhere else in the world aside from the Bayou Pierre and its tributaries, Conti said.
Wildlife Mississippi is evaluating the site's future use and accessibility as restoration efforts, such as planting more than 10 different species of indigenous bottomland hardwoods and controlling invasive species, continue, the partners said.
Conti's truck tire plant project calls for a long-term investment of about $1.4 billion and the creation of 2,500 jobs.
Wildlife Mississippi—technically Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation—is a nonprofit charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Stoneville, Miss.-based organization claims to “protected, restored or enhanced” more than 420,000 acres of lands and waters across the state in its 20-plus year existence.”