Saturday, April 25, 2020

Wildlife Federation Supports Yazoo Pumps

The Mississippi Wildlife Federation issued the following statement.

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on April 16 its intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the Yazoo Area Pump Project.

The Mississippi Wildlife Federation (MWF) – the largest network of conservationists in Mississippi – is encouraged and optimistic by news of the study of the impacts of the Yazoo Area Pump Project. MWF has had a long history of advocacy for protection and mitigation of wetlands in the state and has often expressed concerns about the loss of wetlands in the Delta through flood control projects.

“Our hope is that these new efforts will result in an effective solution to the south Delta’s flooding problems that is sustainable, cost effective and will minimize wetlands losses,” said Ashlee Ellis Smith, CEO of MWF. “As stated by the Corps, the Yazoo Area Pump Project has been extensively reformulated over the past six decades to balance flood-risk reduction with environmental concerns. We are eager to see the new data from the Corps. The ongoing and prolonged flooding during the past 10 years has caused loss of life, wildlife, and livelihood in the Delta, and we look forward to analyzing both the new environmental impact study data and specific details of this new project proposal.”

On Thursday, April 16, Corps’ Vicksburg District published its Notice of Intent to Prepare Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Yazoo Area Pump Project. It states in part:

Recent floods and new data on the environment in the Yazoo Backwater Area prompted this new project proposal. In 9 out of the last 10 years, the Yazoo Backwater Area has experienced significant flooding. In particular, the historic flood of 2019 caused two deaths, caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, flooded over 600 homes, and significantly adversely affected the aquatic and terrestrial environment. The recurring flooding has demonstrated the need to complete the Yazoo Area Pump Project feature. New, previously unavailable data indicates that the environmental impacts to wetlands and other resources from a pumping plant would be far less than calculated in the 2007 FSEIS. The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement will tier from and update the 2007 FSEIS with new data. It will not reformulate the broad array of alternatives previously examined in the 2007 FSEIS, but will analyze a new project proposal to build the pump project (the Proposed Action) in light of the new data. The Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement will also examine environmental measures to mitigate the low dissolved oxygen content in the Yazoo Backwater Area, which is currently detrimental to aquatic species.

“MWF is hopeful that the SEIS will provide data that clearly demonstrates to the EPA that the project can be completed in an environmentally acceptable manner,” said Chris Winter, MWF president.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, MWF took an adverse position to completion of the Yazoo Area Pump Project, which was the only feature of the Yazoo Backwater Project that remained unconstructed of the entire Yazoo Basin, Yazoo Backwater, Mississippi Project. In August 2008, the project was vetoed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to these predicted adverse environmental effects. The EPA veto effectively took any control over the project out of the hands of Mississippians and placed it solely within the federal administration via the EPA since that time.

In July 2019, in response to this historic and catastrophic flooding, MWF issued a statement indicating that it planned to re-examine the pumps issue and study all updated data in light of new science and suggested that “the pumps may be part of the solution.”

“While all of the specific details of the SEIS have not yet been shared, if a structural solution can be designed to be beneficial to the many streams throughout the Delta that go dry during much of the year, supporting wildlife that rely on those waterways, and can maintain adequate minimum flow levels, while protecting the groundwater from contaminants, this could have a positive economic and environmental impact to the area,” Smith said.

Further, MWF supports mitigation and prioritized funding for mitigation of water resources projects within the Yazoo Basin to restore and conserve bottomland hardwood and wetland habitats for Mississippi’s fish, wildlife and outdoor recreationists; and encourages the Corps to include the 55,000 acres of reforestation mitigation in the new project proposal that is currently funded for inclusion in the original project.

MWF is optimistic about these new efforts by the Corps to improve life for residents of the Mississippi Delta, while working to conserve and enhance the environment for future generations.


Anonymous said...

Day late and a dollar short. This group has finally realized they pissed in their whiskey over the past years by decrying the need for the pumps. That culminated last year in the battle between them and Delta pump advocates, largely played out on social media.

We don't need nor want their version of 'cost effective'. It's preconceived and warped from the get go. Not one acre of wetlands would be destroyed by completion of the project approved 80 years ago.

Anonymous said...

The pumps will never be built. Period. Underline. Bold print.

Anonymous said...

Wow 3:44, aren’t you a ball of sunshine?

First, Kingfish, I don’t read this as the group supporting the pumps, just the new environmental study for what sounds like a new version of the project, but maybe I’m missing something.

Second, in response to Mr. Sunshine above, last time I checked the pumps still weren’t finished, don’t look like they’re going to be finished any time soon, our illustrious Senators seem to have zero power to make it happen, despite the conglomeration of money and power concentrated in our dear old Delta using every bit of their power to try to sway the balance. You would think, if you really want it done, you’d want all the friends and advocates you could convince to help, regardless of their past position. I say good for them for being willing to suck it up and change direction, IF that’s what they’re doing.

Anonymous said...

The Sierra Club also opposes the pumps. The Jackson chapter made some vague comments regarding it but when pressed by the sharing of their posts praising the project being vetoed, they turned comments off on Facebook. If it doesn’t make financial sense, so be it, but don’t speaknour of both sides of your mouth. Jackson Sierra Club is made up of a bunch of NE Jackson liberals who oppose farming and hunting.

Anonymous said...

"Sierra Club"

Now there's a group that was started with noble intentions, but turned goofy as PETA within a short time.

Anonymous said...

Since you mentioned PETA, I've noticed them advertising way too much on Z106.

Mr. Sunshine said...

I have no intention of being a ball of sunshine. Only stating facts. Nobody claimed the pumps had been finished, so not sure where you get the nonsense in this quote (Second, in response to Mr. Sunshine above, last time I checked the pumps still weren’t finished...) Of course the project is not finished which is the basis for the continuing discussion. The pumps were approved 80 years ago. Mississippi remains the only state on the entire Mississippi River system in which pumps have not been installed, due to the environmentalists getting them vetoed by EPA years ago.

You undoubtedly don't know a soul who is impacted by this repetitive spring flooding, a man-made situation, every year. You don't know the home owners nor the farmers. And you don't know that not one acre of duck habitat would be impacted by the pumps. Meanwhile, animal carcasses were strewn over six counties this time last year and will be again in two months.

Please educate yourself before you pop off again. There is life beyond your Jackson Metro Lens. Google Finish The Pumps. You can also find the broad discussions on Facebook using that name.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see this. It’s an old organization with some power behind it that has done some good things in the past, and hopefully is headed in the right direction now to do some good again in the future. There will always be people like Sunshine who would rather have enemies than friends.

Anonymous said...

1:09...I've been in the trenches of this battle for years. YOU have not. One problem you have is in not being able to see through the smoke of this announcement. This organization has no intention of supporting the pumps. How easily you and your ilk are fooled.

Secondly, this organization HAS no POWER. They found that out last year at the Wildlife Extravaganza and that's why they are scratching their collective asses trying to drum up membership and dues money. They're a roach on a Pearl River lily pad.

Anonymous said...

@5;18–“Organization HAS no POWER”—hide and watch-the “Roach” is now a crocodile .

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