Letters to the Editor

JAY MENGEL: Respect the ecology, history of the Pascagoula River

I was once known as Capt. Jay, and I was a nature tour guide on the Pascagoula River. I was also the first executive director of the Pascagoula River Basin Alliance (PRBA), an eclectic group of people representing industry and organizations with interests, often parochial, in the Pascagoula River watershed.

The intent of PRBA was to share information and maintain a dialogue. Through my association with this group, I was fortunate to hear from experts, and I learned much about the river. This education groomed me for the pleasurable task of spreading the word about the significance of this amazing watershed as I guided tours on the Pascagoula River.

It is the only major river in the lower 48 states that remains undammed and unchanneled. This is of major ecological significance and is recognized globally.

The original Swedish university study of major rivers in the northern hemisphere, and numerous other recent studies from that and other universities, substantiate the serious impact of any alteration in the natural flow of these rivers.

The findings of these studies, as published in reputable scientific journals, clearly show that man-made influences to the flow of major waterways disrupts the migration of fish, results in extinctions and severely impacts the entire ecology of the region.

These flow manipulations lead to dried-up downstream wetlands and impacted fertility of flood plains. Those desiring these or any dams must be required to have the effect of these dams accounted for in a much broader scope than they have up to this point. The results of a thorough evaluation will undoubtedly find the need for such dams unfounded.

JAY MENGEL

Russell, Pa.

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