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Corps releases its draft for the Yazoo Backwater Pumps Project

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U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith spoke with flood victims at Valley Park, Miss., in 2019. (Photo by David Day)

Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its Draft Supplement No. 2 to the 1982 Yazoo Area Pump Project Final Environmental Impact Statement.

The Yazoo Basin, Yazoo Backwater, Mississippi, Project, of which the pump project is a part, was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1941. The project’s other features, including the Yazoo Backwater Levee, a 15-mile-long connecting channel and the Steele Bayou, Little Sunflower and Muddy Bayou control structures, were completed in the 1960s and 1970s. The pump project is the only feature that remains unconstructed, and the Yazoo Backwater Area is the only major backwater area in the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project that does not have a pumping plant.

The Yazoo Backwater Area flooded nine out of the past 10 years. The historic flood of 2019 resulted in two attributed deaths, hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, flooded over 600 homes, and adversely affected the aquatic and terrestrial environment. Recent research demonstrates that flooding plays a smaller role in wetland hydrodynamics in the Yazoo Backwater Area than previously understood and that precipitation is the dominant driver of wetland hydrology in the area. The Proposed Plan addressed in this revised document is the remaining flood damage reduction features of the Yazoo Basin, Yazoo Backwater, Mississippi, which includes both structural and nonstructural components. Additionally, part of the mitigation plan includes the installation of low flow groundwater wells that will add pumped water into interior streams in the Upper Mississippi Delta to improve environmental flows to sustain aquatics, fisheries, and mussels during the low flow season in the fall.

The public, interested parties, and stakeholders are invited to comment on the Draft Supplement No. 2. The Draft Supplement No. 2 contains a description of the project, an updated recommended plan, and an analysis of potential environmental impacts. All public comments received will be addressed and considered as part of USACE’s decision-making process.

The Draft Supplement No. 2 is available online at the USACE Vicksburg District website.

Due to COVID-19, USACE will host any public meetings virtually to provide information on the project and to receive verbal public comments; details will be provided in subsequent media releases and advertisements. USACE will accept written comments through Nov. 30, 2020.

Comments on the Draft Supplement No. 2 should be sent by email to [email protected] or by mail to the following address:

District Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Vicksburg District
4155 Clay Street
Vicksburg, MS 39183-3435

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