Wave Maker's News: Fake Lake Threatens Pascagoula River


This article is excerpted from Wave Maker's News, our quarterly update on all things water in the Gulf of Mexico, check out the full newsletter here.

pano1rivertreeEustaticsmallerAcross the country, at a rate of about 40 a year, communities are tearing down old dams because of safety and environmental concerns and enormously expensive maintenance costs. Yet, this trend hasn’t reached George County, Mississippi, where the Board of Supervisors and others have been actively promoting the creation of a new 3,500 acre reservoir. Although the details are still hazy, it is clear that building this fake lake would involve damming one of three tributaries to the Pascagoula River. The Pascagoula is the last free flowing river of its size in the lower 48 contiguous states and its status has been widely celebrated. A 3,500 acre lake and dam on a tributary in George County would alter water flows for the Pascagoula, inundate significant quantities of wetlands, and would reduce habitat for the threatened Gopher tortoise.

To add insult to injury, supporters of this fake lake idea are clearly misleading the public and local business leaders about the rationale behind the project. They are pushing the idea under the banner of future water supply for industry and economic development for southeast Mississippi. Yet, coast business leaders already have a contract with the existing Okatibbee Reservoir upstream to provide water in times of drought! Building an expensive reservoir won’t make a difference for industry on the coast, so what’s the real rationale? Nowhere in their promotional materials do they mention real estate development in conjunction with the lake, but everyone knows that such a lake would also play that role. This lake is a Trojan horse – with the apparent outward practical purpose of augmenting water supply, but carrying real estate brokers inside.

Proponents are already working hard to lobby Congress for the $50,000,000 needed to build this pork barrel project. The price tag, and these other issues, should make this a difficult lake to complete, and with federal taxpayer funds come accompanying environmental requirements including a full environmental impact statement, endangered species reviews, and wetland and stream mitigation. GRN will continue to monitor the process and keep you informed of how you can help protect the Pascagoula.

Andrew is GRN's Assistant Director of Science and Water Policy.


Recent Posts

Many Americans have never heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), despite the...
Written by Raleigh Hoke
Friday, 12 October 2018
The comment period closed September 6th on the “One Lake” project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement...
Written by Andrew Whitehurst
Tuesday, 09 October 2018
Last month, the federal government filed new reports suggesting that the Taylor Energy oil leak,...
Written by Raleigh Hoke
Thursday, 04 October 2018
Gulf Restoration Network has begun a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative that will inform...
Written by Andrew Whitehurst
Wednesday, 26 September 2018
1985 seems like a long time ago. For those who care about clean water—which is...
Written by Christian Wagley
Monday, 24 September 2018
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA)’s “Coastal Connections on the Water” event in...
Written by Kendall Dix
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
This article originally appeared on the blog of Marine Fish Conservation Network. It was reprinted...
Written by Kendall Dix
Friday, 31 August 2018

Latest Actions