- Associated Press - Sunday, November 15, 2015

VANCLEAVE, Miss. (AP) - Jackson County is holding two afternoon meetings this week to ask residents if they want to dam two creeks to create a pair of lakes covering 3,000 acres near the Gulf Coast.

The project would dam Big and Little Cedar creeks two miles from the main trunk of the Pascagoula River, The Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1MvECIz) reported.

Both meetings begin at 4 p.m. Monday’s is at the HUD Building on Ball Park Road in Vancleave, and Tuesday’s at the East Central Civic Center in Hurley.

Representatives from the project designer, the Pickering Firm, will be available to answer questions, explain the lakes’ purpose and show maps of the affected area.

Pat Harrison Waterway District, a small state agency that manages water parks, is the official applicant for the project

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering whether it needs a full environmental assessment, which would take about two years.

George County leaders say recreational lakes would boost economic development, and would provide water for major industries when the Pascagoula River is low.

Opponents include the Gulf Restoration Network, Mississippi Audubon, Historic Ocean Springs, and local and state chapters of the Sierra Club.

The Gulf Restoration Network has said the river low flows are only occasional and called the dams and lakes “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Opponents, also including Coastal Rivers, Eco Tours of South Mississippi, Gulf Islands Conservancy, Historic Ocean Springs, Saltwater Fly Fishing Club, and the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, are interested in preserving the Pascagoula River, the largest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states. Among other things, they say damming the tributaries could put that designation at risk.


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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