Stop the Pascagoula River Dam
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The Pascagoula River is the most precious natural resource in Mississippi and one of the most precious natural resources in America. Hastily moving forward on this project for unsubstantiated rationales and without performing an Environmental Impact Study will undoubtedly have devastating and irreparable impacts on the wildlife and plant life of the Pascagoula River. I wholeheartedly object to this project, and will not consider entertaining the idea of this project unless a thorough Environmental Impact Study is completed, which would take several years and multiple in depth studies throughout various parts of the river and surrounding areas.
The Pascagoula River is a spiritual and serene place untouched by industry and development. In 2009 the Pascagoula River was named as one of America’s most endangered rivers by American Rivers. It’s the home to several endangered species, and this project would completely wipe those endangered species from the face of the planet and run the risk of harming several other unique species by pushing this project through without further study. Why taint the last refuge?
The necessity of this project remains unclear. There is no evidence to support the drought resiliency rationale. The watershed and surrounding area and population have already withstood serious droughts over the past fifteen years. Why justify the project with a problem that doesn’t exist and isn’t proven to arise.
What’s worse is that this project, which some have alleged will protect against drought, may in fact worsen drought. The EIS should examine evaporation rates during droughts and seepage through the bottom of the lakes. Evaporation off the surface of these lakes will be far greater than if the river was left to flow freely into cooler creek beds. The bottom of the lakes will be made from sand which allows for seepage and ultimately water waste.
The cleanliness of the water is at stake as well. Wild rivers provide the cleanest water. When those waters are dammed, they will sit idle, stagnating and growing bacteria and allowing disease-carrying insects more places to breed.
The Pascagoula River and surrounding area is the cornerstone of Eco Tourism for the state. Nature enthusiasts, paddlers, kayakers, hunters, bird-watcher, and fishers flock to the Pascagoula River area to enjoy the last wild river in America. The damns will negate the river’s unique wildness and certainly over-haul the entire ecosystem and appearance of the river. Local restaurants, hotels, and other businesses who depend on this tourism will suffer.
Damns fail, and when these damns fail, that creates a huge risk to human life and property downstream of the damns. These damns are projected to hold back 2800 acres of stored water. The residents will have little to no time to evacuate when they are living downstream from not one, but two, high hazard damns such as these.
The Environmental Impact Study must address why we would damage this precious resource for the sake of un-needed recreational lakes when there are alternatives. Releasing water from the Okatibbee Reservoir upstream Lauderdale County in times of low-flow and drought has worked in the past. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Further, the EIS must explain why and how the dams will create economic benefit and how much of a benefit and weigh the specific economic benefits against the irreparable damage caused by the damns. This is potentially a multi-million dollar project. Who is going to pay for it?
There is absolutely no way to mitigate the damage caused by this project. The affects would be permanent and catastrophic. Taking the time to conduct a proper EIS would definitively prove that this project is an absolute nightmare for the Pascagoula River, and that there is absolutely no justification whatsoever for damming the river.
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