Funds will expedite an emergency bluff stabilization project at the Natchez National Cemetery.

The Mississippi lawmakers worked with the Veteran Affairs Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and city officials to secure the contract, which was expedited after federal officials in mid-July designated serious erosion at the cemetery as an emergency.

Due to recent severe storms, continuous erosion problems have been magnified at the Natchez National Cemetery and has claimed about 10 feet of bluff over the Mississippi River.

The $9.1 million project will secure the bluffs along the western edge of the cemetery’s new extension similar to the bluff stabilization methods used along other bluffs. The project will entail stabilization of the west and south reaches of the national cemetery.

The project should take about a year to complete once it is started and actual construction of the retaining system should start by August of 2022.

The senators from Mississippi celebrated the emergency funding and called it ‘urgent’ and  ‘important.’

“The Natchez National Cemetery is hallowed ground, which makes this stabilization project all the more important,” Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said. “I commend the VA, Army Corps, and the leadership in Natchez for working expeditiously to address erosion issues that threaten the cemetery.”

“I appreciate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Veteran Affairs for their work to meet the urgent need for repairs to the Natchez National Cemetery,” Sen. Roger Wicker said. “This emergency contract award will help to guarantee the long-term stability of the bluffs and ensure that no damage comes to any gravesites.”

For more information on the cemetery, click here.