Log jam on Pearl River to be cleared

A massive log jam that has hampered the downstream flow of the Pearl River will soon be cleared according to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday (Aug. 16) that it is partnering with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to remove the jam near Pools Bluff south of Bogalusa. The debris-removal work will prompt the closure of the northernmost part of the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge from Aug. 25 through Sept. 30,

Parts of the Pearl River will also be closed during the log removal process, the news release said. The cleanup comes amidst a renewed focus on issues impacting the lower Pearl River, which runs through Washington and St. Tammany parishes along the Mississippi border of Pearl River County.

A controversial proposal known as One Lake calls for a dam on the river near Jackson, Mississippi, for a flood control project has raised alarm in Louisiana and southwest Mississippi. The concern is that the flow of water heading downstream will be restricted and cause environmental problems in the lower Pearl River basin. Citing the dam proposal, an advocacy group, American Rivers, put the Pearl on its list of the 10 most endangered American rivers in 2015.

The log jam has been gathering for several years, said Louisiana state Rep. Malinda White, D-Bogalusa, who represents the area. White said she and a host of others have worked for years to get it cleared.

"That part of the river is actually in Mississippi,'' she said. "It's been quite a challenge to deal with a river between two states.''

“I'm just so thankful - there's people that thought they'd never see it (cleared),'' White added.

In addition to aiding the natural flow of the river, removing the log jam will also restore public boating access to major portions of the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service news release said.

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