The Mississippi Levee Board released the below statement following today’s filing of Am. Rivers v. Army Corps of Engineers, D.D.C., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit, filed by national organizations based outside of Mississippi, seeks to reverse the 2021 Record of Decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will allow the completion of the Yazoo Backwater Project and save lives in Mississippi.
Today’s filing against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a disingenuous and dangerous attempt to prevent responsible management of flooding in the Delta that protects human and animal life.
The historic flooding of the last three years wiped out generations of wildlife — including the only endangered species in the area, the pondberry, which simply cannot survive underwater for six months. The flooding has also tragically taken two human lives and destroyed hundreds of homes. With an impoverished and minority community as our constituents, flood control is especially important to us.
The federal decision to move forward is consistent with applicable laws and sound science showing that reducing flood duration and height is not only good for our homes, roads, and people, but also provides multiple environmental benefits.
As proposed, the Yazoo Backwater Pumps will save lives while increasing wetland, terrestrial, aquatic, and waterfowl resources and reforestation. The addition of 34 supplemental low-flow groundwater wells will also improve water quality and raise water levels during low-flow season through responsible and modest flood mitigation.
Our community is tired of having national groups including American Rivers, National Audubon Society, Sierra Club and Healthy Gulf – none of which are based in Mississippi – trying to stop critically needed, life- and livelihood-saving local projects. The Mississippi Levee Board will work with the federal agencies, seek to intervene in the suit, and continue to advocate for completion of the Yazoo Backwater Pumps to keep Mississippians safe.
The Mississippi Levee Board is the local sponsor for flood damage protection in the Yazoo Basin, including the pumps necessary to reduce flooding in the Yazoo Backwater Area. We greatly appreciate the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the State, our congressional champions — Representative Thompson and Senators Wicker and Hyde-Smith, and the many other governmental agencies that culminated in a Corps Record of Decision on the pumps in January 2021.