One River, No Lake!
US Army Corps of Engineers
Please join the One River, No Lake Coalition in urging the US Army Corps of Engineers to reject the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District's "One Lake" project which would dredge, widen and dam the Pearl River in Jackson, MS.
The Pearl River provides the fourth largest freshwater discharge to the Gulf, east of the mouth of the Mississippi River. One Lake would jeopardize key pillars of the Mississippi state economy including:
- Our annual $891 million seafood industry that supports 9,491 jobs. (MSU Extension, 2/13/2018)
- Tens of millions in restoration projects being planned for the Mississippi Coast through the Deepwater Horizon recovery process, such as a $50 million marsh, oyster and shoreline project in Hancock County.
- Anticipated increased costs to nearly 100 downstream Pearl River businesses and municipalities that rely on stable freshwater flow and adequate dilution of their discharges, such as International Paper and Georgia-Pacific.
The "One Lake" project would use public money for private gain.
- Questionable flood control benefits and the potential to increase flooding in other areas of the watershed
- $8 million in taxpayer money already spent on feasibility studies
- Potential $95 million in state loans and grants to the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District
- $133,770,000 federal authorization (not appropriation) to the project (2007 Water Resources Development Act)
- Increased property taxes in and around Jackson (HB 1585, 2017 MS Legislative session, gave the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood Control and Drainage District authority to raise property taxes for owners they determine are "directly or indirectly benefited by the project.")
- Potential additional costs to taxpayers for the ongoing maintenance of the lake and dam
- Costs to relocate and/or rebuild infrastructure impacted by the project such as roads, bridges, storm/waste water, and landfills
The environmental costs of river dams are well known, which is why so many are being removed across the US. Impacts to the Pearl River include:
- Blockage of migration routes for aquatic species such as the threatened Gulf sturgeon
- Damage to the existing river channel. Dredging approximately 10 miles of river would disrupt or obliterate currents, pools, sandbars, feeder bayous, streams and riparian and terrestrial habitat that support the river's ecosystem
- Wetlands losses. The project would destroy hundreds of acres of bottomland hardwood forests and approximately 1,500 acres of wetlands. The mature stands of cypress trees in the project area are of particular high value and would be impossible to adequately replace.
- Damage to LeFleur's Bluff State Park and Mayes Lake. One Lake would dramatically alter the hydrology of Mayes Lake and its hardwood forests and cypress brakes.
- Damage to critical endangered species habitat. The endemic ringed sawback turtle is found nowhere else in the world and uses the Pearl's sandbars for laying eggs, and its logs for basking and feeding areas.
- The Pearl River currently provides natural flood control, cleanses water before it reaches the Gulf coast and recharges our underground aquifers that supply water for drinking, irrigation, industry and wildlife and fisheries.
- Damages downstream. The main river channel along the state line of Mississippi and Louisiana is already seriously degraded by reductions in flow, and any additional loss would affect currents, water levels and water quality in all of the river's downstream backwaters and outlets. Damming and altering the hydrology of the river could exacerbate the downstream bank erosion and channel scouring that is already occurring.
12 downstream stakeholders have passed resolutions against One Lake: MS Commission on Marine Resources; Hancock, Marion, Pearl River and Lawrence Counties; Louisiana State Legislature, St. Tammany and Washington Parishes (LA); Town of Monticello (MS), Town of Pearl River (LA), City of Slidell (LA) and City of Bogalusa (LA).
The One River, No Lake Coalition is made up of the following organizations: Gulf Restoration Network, Jackson Audubon Society, League of Women Voters of the Jackson Area, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, Mississippi Wildlife Federation, Pearl Riverkeeper, and Sierra Club Mississippi.
US Army Corps of Engineers
From: [Your Name]
Dear US Army Corps of Engineers,
I am writing to express my concern regarding the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District's "preferred plan" for flood control on the Pearl River.
I am keenly aware of the important connection between a healthy environment and a strong economy. The "One Lake" project could have a catastrophic, irreversible impact to our communities, our economy and our environment.