Pascagoula residents sound off about dredge proposal

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Pascagoula residents flooded the Bolton State Office Building in Biloxi to voice their disapproval for a DMR proposed dredge fill project in their city. The initial proposal residents saw said dredged materials would become a marshy habitat, increasing a section of Greenwood Island from 28 acres to nearly 650 acres.

"This view that we love so much, this is our community treasure. We need to protect it and not use it as an alternative spot for dredge spoils," Pascagoula resident Jim Horn said.

Horn and his neighbors fear the view they love so much will be overshadowed by the 650 acres of marsh potentially headed their way.

Despite their obvious disapproval, researchers say the benefits out weigh the drawbacks.  George Ramseul spoke for the DMR his agency's public hearing.

"Mississippi is undergoing severe loss of marsh habitat. Shrimp, crab, all our recreational commercial fin fish are all tied to the marsh. There's no effective way for us to rebuild the way it's being lost. That's why a large project like this is proposed," the DMR Marine Administrator said.

The benefits of the marsh are not clear to the Pascagoula residents who oppose the fill project on Greenwood Island.

Lauren Wood told the Commission on Marine Resources, "I'm disappointed by the way all of this was handled. I'm disappointed by the communication and I'm disappointed by the project entirely. I think that there are many other options. This is not something that would be beneficial to the citizens of Pascagoula by any means."

Ramseul said any concerns residents have will be addressed.

"There are ways to accommodate various concerns in projects. These meetings give us a chance to hear the details and the local knowledge," Ramseul said.

Before the meeting began DMR representatives announced that changes to the proposal have already been made. There are still a lot of variables to get sorted out, before instituting any additional changes.

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