/Toxic, stagnant, nasty water’ Mississippi River Commission hears about flooding concerns from the Delta to Gulf Coast

Toxic, stagnant, nasty water’ Mississippi River Commission hears about flooding concerns from the Delta to Gulf Coast

Stubblefield stated, “Imagine your favourite place in the globe.” Close your eyes and picture that place filled with the most toxic, stagnant, and nasty water you can think of. Imagine that water sitting there for many months while everything rots. Think of the animals who starve because they aren’t fed. Imagine going back to the same place after the water has gone down. The filth, mold, fungus and smell will be vivid. You should go just a few more miles to experience it. You can see it all. It is all there. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann was the first speaker. He criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reliance on the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Louisiana. The Corps can open the spillway if the Mississippi River rises enough to stop flooding in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. The opening allows freshwater to enter the Mississippi Sound, which can kill species like shrimp, crabs, oysters, and crabs. The Corps had not opened the spillway twice in one year and never once in consecutive years prior to this year’s openings. Hosemann stated that “Not one of our Mississippians thinks this is an isolated event.” “None of us. This will not happen again, we believe. These issues must be addressed immediately. “You have the power to do that,” Hosemann presented alongside the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. He cited subsequent losses of 95 percent of Mississippi’s oysters, 56% of shrimp and 50 percent of blue-crab. Hosemann asked the Corps to conduct an environmental assessment of the Mississippi Sound and a study on how the Morganza Floodway, a rarely used spillway that redirects water into the Atchafalaya Basin, could be used to mitigate the damage. He stated that the Mississippi River has a historic amount of water. We recognize that the entire valley must be managed from Iowa to Mississippi. But, once you reach the Morganza spillway you have the flexibility of diverting some of that floodwater.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is still waiting for new data about the Yazoo pumps to review its 2008 veto. State and local officials echoed Stubblefield’s frustration. Two people died in the flood in June when they tried to escape from the Holly Bluff waters. Chief engineer of the Mississippi River Levee Board, Peter Nimrod, attributed the tragedy to the EPA’s veto over the pumps. Nimrod stated that the EPA is responsible for the deaths of two people. Half a million acres were submerged by the flood, which also affected 230,000 acres worth of farmland. Andy Gipson was the state commissioner for agriculture and commerce. He stated that the state took $500 million from the loss of crops this year. Louie Miller (director of Sierra Club Mississippi) was the only presenter against the Yazoo Pumps Project. Miller claimed that the Corps is misleadingly advertising the pumps’ advantages. He said, “I sympathize with people in the south Delta.” Miller cited a Corps report that said the pumps would only help about a third the area affected by flood damage. Miller also warned of potential downstream effects. Miller stated that the Corps had highlighted the very real danger for downstream residents. The agency discovered that flood stages could rise by a quarter foot in the flooded Yazoo River once the pumps are switched on. This risk has not been modeled by the Corps to Vicksburg and other downstream areas,” Maj. Gen. Mark Toy, Commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, told the public that the river commission, which includes Corps officers, a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, two engineers, and a civilian, would meet after the event to discuss presentations. A few members of the commission, including Sam Angel, supported the Yazoo Pumps. Angel stated that it was the worst flood he’d ever witnessed. Later that day, the Mississippi Senate Finance and Tourism Committees held a two-day hearing in order to learn more about flooding and freshwater in Gulf. Jeffry Mitchell, a Sharkey County farmer, stated that the flood destroyed his catfish production. His farm typically sells 150,000 pounds per month of fish in a typical year. It has only produced 60,000 pounds this year. Mitchell was told by Sen. Joey Fillingane (R-Sumrall), Finance chairman. Mitchell replied, “With two years such as this, nobody will stay in business.” Louis Guedon is a fifth-generation farmer from Jefferson and Adams counties. His land is located below Vicksburg so it is not protected by any levees. According to Guedon, the Morganza Floodway could help alleviate some of the damage he and other farmers in southwest Mississippi experience. Guedon spoke out about the increasing trend of severe inundation over recent years. He said, “My dad is 83 years of age, still farming.” He’s witnessed many of the 100-year floods. He has seen the greatest flood (at Vicksburg gauge), in recorded history. He’s also seen the longest-lasting flood of the Mississippi River in recorded history. His 10-year-old grandson has also seen it all. This is changing.” See more Mississippi Today coverage on flooding in the Delta.