Looking to make a lake the Pearl River was noticed as one of the most distressed rivers.

A proposal for a controversial flood control plan that would create an artificial lake spanning 1,500 acres near Jackson, Mississippi, has prompted environmental activists to list the Pearl River as one of the most endangered rivers in the U.S. for the third time since 2008. In a news release Tuesday, the environmental advocacy group American Rivers, cited 10 endangered rivers across the U.S., citing dredging and dam construction as the most severe threats to the Pearl River. A $342 million flood control project in Mississippi called “One Lake” would dredge and widen the Pearl and establish an underwater dam below the Interstate 20 Pearl River Bridge, a measure that proponents say would help prevent severe flooding in the Jackson area. But the project has sparked controversy, with critics saying it would wipe out 2,500 acres of mostly wetlands and could actually worsen flooding in Mississippi.  “The One Lake project is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No matter how promoters dress it up, this project would damage river health and worsen Jackson’s flooding and drinking water crisis,” said Olivia Dorothy with American Rivers.

Below the dam the fear is that the river will change for the worse.

Meanwhile, downriver, where the Pearl flows into southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi, One Lake critics fear the dam project will eventually choke the flow of the scenic river and endanger wildlife. Critics have also claimed the project to create the lake is being pushed to create waterfront property and recreation. A spate of Louisiana elected officials have voiced opposition to the project. Nonetheless, last October the Army Corp of Engineers announced it would spend $221 million from the Infrastructure and Jobs Act on the project. Before any work can commence, the Army Corps has to review final environmental impact documents and a public comment period will take place. “That is the most significant thing that has happened on this project since 2018,” said Andrew Whitehurst, water program manager for Healthy Gulf, a New Orleans based environmental group. “Money was always a question, now Congress has appropriated the money, the Corps has it and only the state match is in question.”

Louisiana fears the of seafood as the water mix changes.

In Louisiana, opponents also fear changing the structure of the Pearl River would hit the seafood industry hard, disrupting the balance of freshwater and saltwater. “The shrimp and oyster harvest downstream is huge for the economy,” said Jennifer Coulson, president of the Orleans Audubon Society. “The reason it’s been knocked down so many times is because it’s not a good plan,” she added.

Water front property and recreation? I am shocked!

Pearl River in danger
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