George County moving forward with lake project

George County moving forward with lake project

GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A lake project that's been talked about for years in George County is a step closer to reality. The Army Corps of Engineers is considering an application that calls for building dams on two tributaries of the Pascagoula River to create two large lakes.

The primary purpose of creating the twin lakes is to provide some drought resiliency when the flow of the Pascagoula River gets too low.

"The water could be released from the lake to go into the river to hold those levels to where it wouldn't get dangerously low and keep some of the industries being shorted of water down there," said George County supervisor, Kelly Wright.

An added benefit for George County is the recreation potential.

"Seems to be overwhelmingly positive and looking forward to having the lakes here in George County. Again, the primary benefit to people who live here in George County is recreational purposes and improvement to quality of life," said board of supervisor's president, Larry McDonald.

Big Cedar Creek flows beneath the bridge at Highway 63. Plans for building a dam on that waterway would create an 1,100 acre Lower Lake, while building a dam on Little Cedar Creek, just north of there, would create a 1,700 acre Upper Lake.

"This is the damming of the Pascagoula and it is the Pascagoula flood plain," Steve Shepard told the Jackson County Board of Supervisors Monday.

Shepard represents the Sierra Club and has some serious concerns about the lake project. For starters, he doesn't see how it will improve drought conditions on the river.

"I don't see how it can, because the lakes themselves will be in the drought zone. So they will be losing water the same time the Pascagoula River is losing water. So it really isn't very logical," said Shepard.

"The water tables will be increased underground, which will in turn help the flow of the Pascagoula River," said McDonald.

The George County supervisors said it's important to note that the creek will not dry up.  The current flow of that tributary will be maintained into the Pascagoula River, even after the lakes are created.

The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to hold a public hearing on the lake project, perhaps by the end of this year.

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