One River | NO LAKE!

one river no lake

photo by: Bonny Schumaker  
Pearl River Aerial

The Pearl River is being threatened by the One Lake project which is being disguised as a flood control measure. In reality, it is a plan to "create wealth" for a few while delaying real flood control and disregarding the many interests downriver. There is so much hope growing in the Pearl River, from the restoration on the Hancock County Marsh Living Shoreline project being funded to the new Pearl River Keeper hosting a huge cleanup along the Pearl. We have the opportunity to protect the amazing people and projects of the Pearl River by standing together for    

One River, NO LAKE! Take Action Today! 

Tell the Army Corps of Engineers and the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood Control and Drainage Control District that you oppose the One Lake Plan and that they should adopt the Comprehensive Levee Plan to provide sensible flood protection for all of Mississippi.

Don't be fooled by the myths The Pearl River Vision Foundation and the Jackson Vision 2022 plan are spreading. The One Lake project is a bad deal for MS & LA. Let's go ahead and dispell these myths:

Myth: The One Lake project is for flood control.

Reality: From the flood of 1979 to 1996, two flood control projects, the Shoccoe Dry Dam and the Comprehensive Levee Plan, were rejected by the Mississippi decision makers. These plans were political non-starters primarily due to those who wanted to cash in the Pearl River's floodplain for real estate development in Rankin and Hinds Counties. The desire for riverfront development helps explain thirty four years with no significant changes to Jackson's flood protection after the last big flood of 1983.

In 1996, local developer John McGowan introduced the Two Lakes Plan specifically to add economic development value. This plan included two lakes AND 36 islands for retail shopping and development. The Two Lakes Plan was adopted by the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District and renamed the LeFleur Lakes Plan as the Locally Preferred Plan. This plan was rejected because it did not provide adequate flood control. In 2007, John McGowan then pushed for the Lower Lake Plan which only included one lake and two islands, but needed actual flood control in the form of 21 miles of LEVEES which is EXACTLY what was originally proposed in the Comprehensive Levee Plan in 1996. 

So, now we're down to the One Lake Plan- John McGowan's final grasp at using flood control dollars for economic value and personal gain. This project will limit flow on the Pearl River and cause flooding downriver. This lake is not for flood control, this lake is for economic development. In fact, a Mississippi Development Authority industrial development grant anchored funding of the project's environmental impact study. 


Even the Jackson Chamber Partnership touting this One Lake project admits what it’s really about:

“Our vision is to build a sought-after community on the banks of a new 1,500 acre lake, located within minutes from homes and offices, in the heart of a region known for being a great place to live and work.” -Vision 2022

Myth: The One Lake Plan will not affect the environment.

Reality: This fake lake WILL cause significant negative environmental impacts.

  • Clear cutting 1000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest, then elevating the land with dredge spoil fill is just ignorant considering the natural flood protection these wetlands provide.
  • The Pearl River is on Mississippi's 303(d) Impaired Waters List already due to decreased flow from the Ross Barnett Reservoir and excess nutrients from industry and municipal uses. One Lake would exacerbate this problem and gather much of Jackson's polluted urban runoff behind a new dam.
  • One Lake would compromise the already threatened Gulf Sturgeon and the Ringed sawback turtle.

The One Lake Plan will greatly harm the endangered Pearl River.

Pearl RiverMyth: The One Lake Plan is good for business and would make Jackson boom.

Reality: This might be true if your name is John McGowan who owns land along the Pearl, or if you are one of his friends and allies who have positioned themselves as landowners along the river. However, by and large, this project would likely focus development in Rankin County rather than in downtown Jackson and cause a myriad of economic problems downriver.

  • Decreasing the flow of the Pearl River puts the Hancock County Marsh Living Shoreline project, totaling $50 million, at great risk. Decreased flow means decreased freshwater output necessary for oyster habitat.
  • Swamp tours in South Louisiana, an iconic tourist destination for anyone visiting New Orleans, are greatly at risk if this project proceeds. Water levels are already precariously low, and tour operators have already expressed great concern about this proposed project.
  • St. Tammany Parish engineers predict a loss of up to 90 cubic feet per second of flow at the lower end of the river due to evaporation if another lake is built on the Pearl. That’s like evaporating away almost the entire  flow volume of a typical moderate-size public Mississippi waterway, like the well- known Okatoma Creek near Hattiesburg.
  • Existing industries and municipalities that rely on discharge permits on the Pearl River will suffer greatly. That includes Sanderson Farms, Entergy, Georgia Pacific, Denbury Onshore and many other businesses and cities. Alternatives for disposing of treated wastewater are very costly. This project is bad for business.
  • Malls are so 1996: “Local jobs are a major casualty of what analysts are calling, with only a hint of hyperbole, the retail apocalypse. Since 2002, department stores have lost 448,000 jobs, a 25% decline, while the number of store closures this year is on pace to surpass the worst depths of the Great Recession.”- Time Magazine
  • Adding a new lake and dam with a second set of flood gates below the existing Ross Barnett Reservoir will only complicate water management on the Pearl during times of normal and low flow.

The One Lake Plan is bad for business and a bad deal for Mississippi and Southern Louisiana.

Myth: The One Lake Plan has broad community support. Protect the Pearl

Reality: The One Lake Plan has very little support downriver. More and more downriver interests are joining the fight against this unnecessary and harmful One Lake project every day.

Join us in the fight to Protect the Pearl. Tell Jackson: One River  |  NO LAKE!

Tell the Army Corps of Engineers and the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood Control and Drainage Control District that you oppose the One Lake Plan and that they should adopt the Comprehensive Levee Plan, or another less disruptive flood control alternative to provide sensible flood protection for all of Mississippi.


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