One Lake project public meeting creates understanding from both sides

Pearlington--The public meeting at the Infinity Center in Pearlington was held last night and the overall sentiment from the meeting is that the One Lake Project may be tolerable, provided the proper mitigation is performed on the Pearl River in conjunction or as part of the project.

During the presentation, it was explained that the existing weir dam currently located at River Mile 290.7 would be removed and a new weir dam with a gate for low flows would be constructed at River Mile 284.3 and modified to a higher elevation and expanded width providing a larger body of water for recreation while reducing channel maintenance along with future maintenance needed of a larger expanded channel improvement.

The presentation also stated the quantity of water flow to the lower Pearl River will not be impacted by the construction of One Lake, a claim that many do not believe is true.

Walt Dinkelacker, a consultant with Headwaters, who is working with the Rankin Hinds Pearl River Flood & Drainage Control District, noted that the project team for One Lake is looking for input on other downstream mitigation opportunities. Dinkelacker had a long discussion after the presentation with WRJW News, State Senator Angela Hill, and Janice OBerry, a Pearl River, LA resident and public advocate for the Pearl River.

(L-R) Janice OBerry, State Senator Angela Hill, and Walt Dinkelacker

“We get it. You all down here are weary of this project because of all the others that have failed, “ Dinkelacker told Hill and OBerry.

Senator Hill responded, “It’s that and a lot more. We need a lot of things done to the Pearl or your One Lake Project will not be successful. If you get it approved, move forward, you are still going to have problems because the Pearl down here is so clogged up. We need dredging and a lot of things removed from the River that are keeping it blocked and restricting flow.”

OBerry added, “We need a commission, a joint effort, between Louisiana and Mississippi to do what needs to be done with the Pearl River. The Corps of Engineers have basically washed their hands of it. I’m not so sure everyone is against One Lake as much as they don’t trust the outcome. Who is going to report or keep an eye on One Lake to make sure it’s working if put in

place?”

Dinkelacker told Hill and OBerry that he needed all of their input about what mitigation is needed to ensure all issues are addressed. He added that he agrees that a priority is getting the problems with Pearl River below Bogalusa fixed in order for One Lake to be successful.

@WRJW  

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