The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday it plans to spend $221 million on a flood control project known as One Lake, which would widen the Pearl River along Jackson, as long it meets environmental and other criteria.
Attorney Keith Turner said the Rankin Hinds Flood & Drainage Control District — the project’s local sponsor — submitted a revised proposal in July to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, which will review the new document before sending it back out for a final public comment period.
Turner said the new version of the plan, which isn’t yet publicly available, is largely the same as the drafted proposal. He said the new document proposes a slightly smaller footprint in dredging the Pearl River, which in turn would mean less impacts on wetlands and cheaper construction costs.
In total, the project is estimated to cost $340 million, Turner said.
The $221 million, or 65% of the project’s costs, comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and is part of $800 million going to the Corps. Sen. Roger Wicker, who has backed the project for years, said that money also includes $700,000 to finalize a pending study on One Lake.
Turner said he has no timeline on when the Corps will finish reviewing the updated proposal, but said “beginning of 2023 is when we hope to see it out for public comment.”
Support for the long-discussed project gained traction in 2020, after a Pearl River flood damaged over 400 homes. The levee board, the project’s sponsor, said that One Lake would have prevented damage in 92 percent of the 222 homes that were impacted in Northeast Jackson, Downtown Jackson and Flowood.
But advocates and some officials downstream of Jackson question the downstream impacts that damming the river could have, and point to alternative flood control measures such as voluntary buyouts and raising levees.
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