The "one lake" plan continues to be called a "game changer" for the Jackson area. The greatest changes on the Pearl River happened more than 50 years ago -- the Ross Barnett dam and reservoir. It benefitted Jackson and surrounding counties at the expense of everyone downriver.
Monticello, Picayune and Pearlington in Mississippi and communities in two Louisiana parishes have a much different river system now because of the reservoir dam. They experience periods of extremely low river flows from June-October most years, caving banks, sediment problems, and water releases at inconvenient times during floods and coastal storm surges. Another dam/lake on the Pearl won't solve these problems.
Last summer, the governor and legislative leaders directed the Mississippi Development Authority to give the Rankin Hinds Pearl River Drainage District $1 million for a feasibility study for flood control for Jackson. Mississippi taxpayers, particularly those in downriver counties and cities, have some skin in the game since their taxes are helping fund the study. To avoid additional harm to downriver interests, the study should address the whole Pearl River basin and look seriously at a full range of flood control alternatives.
Water Policy Director
Gulf Restoration Network