Andrew Whitehurst

Yazoo basin cypress trees

Healthy Gulf Joins Conservation Groups in Yazoo Pumps Suit againt EPA

Healthy Gulf joined American Rivers, National Audubon Society and Sierra Club in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, asking a federal judge to rule on whether EPA’s 2008 Clean Water Act veto of the Yazoo Backwater Pump project still applies to a 2020 Army Corps of Engineers re-do. The project’s pumping capacity and purpose remain the same as the earlier project which was vetoed during the George W. Bush Administration. The project’s impacts to wetlands and habitats remain significant in the 2020 re-do version, and the Conservation Groups maintain that the veto still prohibits the pumps. EPA has used a Clean Water Act veto on a development project 13 times since 1972. The agency has slightly modified some vetoes after-the-fact, but has never completely revoked one.

Yazoo Pumps (Again)

The controversial Yazoo Backwater Area pump project in the lower Mississippi Delta is again being advanced by the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Mississippi. Much weight is given to a single new piece of Corps-sponsored research on soil moisture that the agency uses to conclude that a large pumping plant will not cause present wetland areas to change to non-wetland classification. The Corps’s justification of the pumps on these wetland effects is presented in a new Supplemental EIS that could open the door for the Environmental Protection Agency to revisit and rescind its 2008 veto of the project under the Clean Water Act.

Update on One Lake and Pearl River: Letters to Army Corps, FOIA, Turtles, September Clean Sweep Event

Update on One Lake and Pearl River: Letters to Army Corps, FOIA, Turtles, September Clean Sweep Event

This summary of news relevant to the Pearl River so far in 2020 includes notes on Jackson’s “One Lake” project, recent letters to the Secretary of the Army from Louisiana and Mississippi, Jackson Mississippi’s continuing sewage spills, the Pearl River Map Turtle’s status under the Endangered Species Act, and the Pearl River Clean Sweep – river clean up days in September.

Pearl Map Turtle. Credit: Cris Hagen, University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

Suit wins agreement to determine protected status for Map turtles in Pearl and Pascagoula Rivers

A recent federal court suit by Healthy Gulf and the Center for Biological Diversity resulted in a settlement that requiries the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop delaying the listing determination under the Endangered Species Act for two map turtles. These turtles are endemics in the Pearl and Pascagoula River systems, and have been surveyed recently for the health of their populations.

The Oyster Gardening program engages volunteers who hang oyster cages off of their docks, manage and tend them as they grow from spat-on-shell to adult stage oysters that can then be moved to public spawning reefs. Photo Credit: Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.

Oyster spawning reefs and Oyster Gardening featured in NRDA Plan 2 for Mississippi

NRDA Restoration Plan 2 for Mississippi has been published for comment by the Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group and MDEQ. Three quarters of the spending in Plan 2 is focused on restoring oysters: placing cultch material on water bottoms to create reefs, and four years of new funding for the Mississippi oyster gardening volunteer program, managed by MS-AL Sea Grant Program.

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