Jackson lake plan needs close watch

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 13, 2003

Monticello will face a test in coming months — a test ofpolitics, foresight, safety, and welfare.

New emphasis has been placed on a flood control project for theJackson area that, if not done well, could have severe implicationsfor residents who live downriver.

The Two Lakes Project has been redefined and is now beingstudied again, this time by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, undera new name, the LeFleur’s Lakes Flood Control Project.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

That Jackson has an urgent need for flood relief is not inquestion. As recently as earlier this year, rising water in thePearl River flooded several neighborhoods in that city.

Under the plan, the reservoir will pre-release water into twolower lakes when flooding is expected. This will help to controlflooding by decreasing the amount of water held in thereservoir.

If done properly, the project could help Jackson. It could alsohelp those downriver by preventing water levels from dropping toosharply, which causes bank sloughing, or allowing too much toescape the reservoir at one time, which increases flooding. The twonew lakes could be used to soften those effects by steadilyreleasing lower amounts of water from each lake.

The amount of land lost to property owners along the Pearl Riversouth of Jackson because of bank sloughing is tremendous — someproperty owners can even make justified claims of losing acres ofland. Bank sloughing has even threatened the Lawrence County PublicLibrary, which has needed a new home for years as continued wear onthe river bank it sits on draws ever closer to the building’sfoundation.

Unfortunately, there is more at stake in the LeFleur’s LakeProject than flood control.

The two new proposed lakes would also be an economic boom to acapital city suffering from a stagnant economy and increasingsocial problems, such as crime.

Area residents need to watch this issue carefully to ensuresense, and not dollars, is the currency considered.