Jackson Co. dredging project helps restore Deer Island

By Patrice Clark- bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - According to Chris Vaughn, silt from Hurricane Katrina has caused quite a mess in Graveline Bayou.

"It just makes it hard on everybody to have a real shallow channel. There are a lot of shrimpers and fisherman out here," Vaughn said.

Area resident Buddy Shamburger agrees that too much buildup can be a big headache.

"It makes it complicated for boaters, and it is not conducive to the fish habitat," Shamburger said.

Heavy equipment is now digging out storm residue from the bottom of the bayou to make it more navigable. Jackson County is managing the project with help from FEMA.

"This is about a $600,000 project funded by FEMA," Supervisor Mike Mangum said.

Since Katrina, the county has completed 13 dredge projects in several hard hit cities. Mangum said the county recently set aside an extra $1.5 million for even more work.

"Access to the water is a major thing for recreation and quality of life issues.  We also know that our bayous are major drainage arteries," Mangum said.

So far, work crews have scooped up 27,000 cubic yards of dirt out of Graveline Bayou. Mangum said the dredged materials will go to Deer Island, which serves as a first line of defense from storms.

"DMR has a project going, trying to reclaim some area of Deer Island that was impacted. The  spoils from this project are taken over to Deer Island instead of being taken over to a land fill."

Jackson County completed $2 million worth of dredging work last year at five different locations. Mangum said the Graveline Bayou dredging job should be finished in the next few weeks.

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