Levee Board releases Yazoo flooding study

By SPECIAL TO THE PRESS REGISTER,

The Mississippi Levee Board today submitted a scientific Report entitled “The Effects of Recent Flooding Events on Ecological Resources in the Yazoo Backwater Area of Mississippi” to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demonstrating that removal of flood water helps, rather than hurts, environmental resources.

As part of its letter urging the Vicksburg District of the Corps to move promptly to complete its studies of the Yazoo Backwater Pumps, the Levee Board provided a study prepared by a consultant engaged to evaluate impacts of flooding on ecological resources.  The study concludes that floods, depending upon depth and duration of flood water, result in adverse impacts to the environment.  The study looked at four categories: wildlife and recreation, forestry, methylmercury and Asian carp, an invasive species.  Using scientific references and available information from the Backwater area, the study summarizes the type of impacts caused on each category by flooding.  Depth and duration of flood waters are the dominant factor in causing damage.  Reducing the depth and duration by pumping flood waters out of the Backwater would improve each environmental resource category.

The Levee Board has frequently advised the Corps and other federal and state agencies of the horrible damages to the community from flooding. Had the Pumps been in place from 2008 until 2018 they would have prevented $372M in agricultural damages. This number does not include the record 2019 Backwater Flood which flooded and prevented 231,000 acres from being farmed in 2019. In 2019 the Pumps would have prevented the flooding of 686 homes and 3 highways in 2019. The Pumps would have provided protection for people, homes, crop land, animals, trees and the environment in the South Mississippi Delta. Sadly, this information is not new.  Building the Pumps will complete the long-promised flood damage control system and protect the Yazoo Backwater Area from the devastation it has suffered for too long.

The Corps is drafting a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, due for release to the public in October 2020, addressing the Backwater Pumps. The Levee Board maintains that the Corps must consider the adverse impacts of flooding on the community, including people, property, businesses, and the environmental resources on which our community relies.

For more information please contact Peter Nimrod, Chief Engineer of the Mississippi Levee Board at (662)334-4813 or by email at peter@msleveeboard.com.

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