The Warren County Board of Supervisors discussed several recurring Eagle Lake matters during Monday’s work session.
County Engineer Keith O’Keefe informed supervisors that he has several projects about to go out for bid including one to make repairs to Eagle Lake Shore Road. This project was shelved in 2019 due to flooding in the area. O’Keefe said he was working through some easement issues before putting the project out for bids, which he hopes will be in September.
O’Keefe then brought Kimble Slayton, president of CTSI Land Surveying, into the discussion about Shell Beach Road. Slayton presented the board with an extremely detailed presentation on the area. Slayton has researched property deeds and descriptions dating back to the 1940’s attempting to determine exactly what the county owns and has maintained through the years. Both men used the term “prescriptive roadway” in their discussion, a term defining the actual road and any property tied to it that a government entity assumes responsibility for maintaining.
In the case of Shell Beach Road, the road runs between property owner’s homes and the rest of their lake front land. One group of owners has approached the board hoping to get the road abandoned. Another has presented the board with a petition hoping to get it repaired.
O’Keefe has secured funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make the repairs.
If the opposing homeowners refuse to grant necessary easements to make repairs, an eminent domain process to seize the property could be in the works. Board Attorney Blake Teller said it could take up to 90 days; however, he did point out that there could be an emergency clause invoked as these repairs need to be made expeditiously.
District 5 Supervisor Kellie Banks brought up the water management agreement in the area and a recent conversation she had with Ann Dahl in reference to the drawdown at Eagle Lake. Eagle Lake property owners are lobbying to have the lake drawn down further to facilitate repairs to banks, docks and structures near the lake. Dahl appeared before the board in June requesting that the 2000 agreement and its outdated language be addressed due to flooding in recent years. District 4 Supervisor Jeff Holland pointed out that officials that need to be involved from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are on the annual low water inspection tour of waterways.
All were in agreement that a meeting with the six entities with jurisdiction need to be scheduled as soon as possible to get a resolution for property owners. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, along with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have regulatory authority over the waterway. In addition, the USACE, Warren County, Madison Parish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all have some form of jurisdiction over the lake.
“I am against a bunch of one offs, we need to get everyone to the table and see if we can get something done,” said District 1 Supervisor Edward Herring.
The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 8.