For Immediate Release:
October 24, 2013
Citizens raise concerns about impacts on downstream communities, oyster beds, and wetlands
Picayune, MS "� On Tuesday, October 29th, the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District (District) will hold a public meeting in Picayune, Mississippi on a proposal to build a new dam and artificial lake on the Pearl River near Jackson, Mississippi. Although this project has been pitched as a flood control measure, some citizens have raised concerns that this is a real estate development scheme disguised as flood control. There are also significant questions about how a new dam would impact the health of the Pearl, and the communities and environment downstream. In part due to the District's inability to address such concerns, this meeting, which was initially scheduled for September 19th, was delayed."How will building a dam on the Pearl near Jackson affect river flows in the lower counties and parishes? How will it affect salinity and oyster beds in the Mississippi Sound and Lake Borgne?"� said Andrew Whitehurst, Water Policy Director with the Gulf Restoration Network. "The District hasn't been able to provide the public or other government entities like the St. Tammany Parish Council with adequate responses to these questions."�On September 5th, the St. Tammany Parish Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution opposing a proposed dam on the Pearl River in Jackson, Mississippi. In the resolution, sponsored by Councilman Bellisario, several concerns were raised with the proposed lake project, including "reduced flow rates coming down the Pearl River, harm to the hydrology of the Honey Island Swamp and Pearl River Wildlife Management Area, and the future of the Swamp Tour Industry."�"Although the District will not allow members of the public to address the crowd at the meeting, this is a key time for citizens to weigh-in by submitting their own written or oral comments about this proposed dam,"� stated Mr. Whitehurst. "The Ross Barnett Reservoir has caused disruption to the Pearl River's flow for decades, reducing the quantity of water that reaches coastal marshes in Louisiana and Mississippi. Building another lake cannot help but worsen this problem."�The public meeting for project scoping will be held October 29th, 6-8 p.m. in Picayune, MS at the Margaret Bell Crosby Memorial Library, 900 Goodyear Blvd.###You can read the St. Tammany Parish resolution here.For additional background on this project, read Andrew's blog post.Gulf Restoration Network is a 19 year old non-profit dedicated to empowering people to protect and restore the health of the Gulf of Mexico.