Corps of Engineers give residents more time to comment on future plans for Pearl River ‘One Lake’ project

Published 5:42 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Mississippi residents now have more time to review and comment on future plans to turn parts of the Pearl River into a large lake to control flooding in the central part of the state.

The “One Lake” project has been controversial since its introduction, with supporters and opponents lining up on either side of the issue.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District, has announced a 15-day extension for the public comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) concerning the Pearl River Basin, Mississippi Federal Flood Risk Management Project. Originally set to conclude on July 22, the deadline for submitting comments is now August 6, providing residents with additional time to review and offer feedback on the critical study.

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The DEIS, along with the Commander’s Report and details on participating in virtual or in-person public meetings, can be accessed online at the Vicksburg District’s official website. The public is encouraged to thoroughly review these documents and submit their comments by the new deadline.

The DEIS, released earlier this month, evaluates various flood control options for the Pearl River Basin, including the locally backed One Lake project and several alternatives. The study is a federal requirement to determine if these projects meet the criteria for federal funding. The draft document, made public on June 7, initially indicated that the One Lake project, with an estimated cost between $1.1 billion and $2.1 billion, is “not justified.” However, a more cost-effective alternative known as “Alternative D” has emerged as a viable option.

Alternative D proposes a modified version of the One Lake project, creating a 1,700-acre lake on the Pearl River, situated between Hinds and Rankin counties. This alternative avoids several environmentally hazardous sites, including a former wood treatment plant and two defunct landfills, significantly reducing mitigation costs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that Alternative D could be completed for between $487 million and $655 million.

The Rankin-Hinds Flood and Drainage Control District supports Alternative D, describing it as “a consensus solution that addresses the needs of the Jackson Metropolitan Area while providing benefits for near long-term improvement for water supply, recreation, and public access to the river, as well as potential revitalization opportunities for investment.”

The current draft document will continue to be refined, with the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) expected to be completed this fall. Once finalized, the EIS will be submitted to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for approval.

Residents can submit their comments on the draft EIS via mail, email, or in person at several public meetings scheduled for July:

  • Wednesday, July 10 – 2 p.m. at the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Auditorium, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, Miss.
  • Wednesday, July 10 – 6 p.m. at the Mississippi Trade Mart, 1200 Mississippi St., Jackson, Miss.
  • Thursday, July 11 – 11 a.m. at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium, 2056 2nd St., Slidell, La.
  • Thursday, July 11 – 6 p.m. at the Monticello Civic Center, 125 E Broad St., Monticello, Miss.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District, is dedicated to engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. Covering a 68,000-square-mile area across Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, the District manages nine major river basins and approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. Engaged in hundreds of projects and employing around 1,100 personnel, the Vicksburg District plays a crucial role in flood risk management and infrastructure development in the region.

For more information and to access the DEIS and other related documents, visit the Vicksburg District’s official website.