Jackson County

Pascagoula City Council votes to oppose Lake George project

The Pascagoula River winds through George County before making its way to Jackson County.
The Pascagoula River winds through George County before making its way to Jackson County. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

The City Council voted unanimously Friday afternoon to oppose the proposed Lake George project.

The motion also asks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit application for the project, which would dam two tributaries of the Pascagoula River and create a pair of lakes in George and Jackson counties.

There has been resistance among environmental groups because the Pascagoula River is the largest, and one of the last, free-flowing rivers in the lower 48 states. Many believe the lakes will remove that designation and damage 1,200 acres of wetlands, 41 miles of stream channels, and farms and forest land at the site of the twin lakes.

The Corps of Engineers is embarking on a environmental-impact study.

The City Council motion cited tourism, economic development, environmental impact and potential risk from the dams, specifically:

▪  The project would impede the water that would normally flow downstream.

▪  The reasoning that these reservoirs would help during droughts is “ill-advised” because droughts also reduce the amount of water in man-made lakes.

▪  The creation of the proposed artificial lakes “may alter salinity patterns downstream since the flow of fresh water will be impeded.”

▪  Nutrients flowing into the reservoirs will likely accumulate and pose a “potential threat if the dams are breached during a storm,” causing greater concentrations to flow into ecosystems and communities downstream.

▪  The proposed project “will eliminate a considerable amount of wetlands and the habitat of several wildlife species.”

▪  The proposed project will erase the Pascagoula River’s designation as the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states; thereby eliminating a major tourism asset and jeopardizing economic development.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller