Posted April 19, 2020
VICKSBURG, Miss. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District announced April 16 that it will prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the Yazoo Area Pump Project in the Yazoo Backwater Area in Mississippi.
The public is invited to read the notice of intent for the SEIS, which is published in the Federal Register at the following link: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/16/2020-07966/notice-of-intent-to-prepare-supplemental-environmental-impact-statement-for-the-yazoo-area-pump and to provide comments in accordance with guidance in the notice.
District engineers and technical experts determined the need for an updated study based on recent floods and new data on the environment in the backwater area. New data indicates that the environmental impacts to wetlands and other natural and aquatic resources caused by a pumping plant would be substantially less than originally calculated in the 2007 Reformulation Study and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
“The Vicksburg District is committed to the safety and wellbeing of the communities within the Yazoo Backwater Area,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “Recurring flooding has demonstrated the need to complete the Yazoo Backwater Area Pump Project feature, and this notice of intent is the next step to move things forward to minimize flooding and preserve natural resources in the south Delta.”
In nine of the last 10 years, the Yazoo Backwater Area has experienced significant flooding. In 2019, flooding in the area caused two attributed deaths, hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, the flooding of more than 600 homes, the displacement of hundreds of residents and significant negative impacts on terrestrial and aquatic species.
The Yazoo Basin, Yazoo Backwater, Mississippi, Project, of which the pump project is a part, was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1941. The project’s other features, including the Yazoo Backwater Levee, a 15-mile-long connecting channel and the Steele Bayou, Little Sunflower and Muddy Bayou control structures, were completed in the 1960s and 1970s. The pump project is the only feature that remains unconstructed, and the Yazoo Backwater Area is the only major backwater area in the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project that does not have a pumping plant.
The Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.