Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District Votes to Pursue Flood Protection Efforts

“Today’s vote was a solid vote for flood control and a significant vote for economic development.” Billy Orr, President

(Jackson, Miss.) – In a five to two vote, members of the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District voted today to support the recommendations of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pursue a levee plan for protecting the Jackson Metro Area from future floods. The Board will continue to pursue compatible economic development opportunities for all the affected communities within the Jackson metropolitan area.

The measure enacted today states that the Flood Control District will endorse the levee proposal offered by the US Army Corps of Engineers contingent upon the Corps allowing for water features that may be beneficial for economic development and recreation in the area. Such features may include the addition of lakes or enhancements of creeks or rivers for economic development purposes.

Addressing the vote today, Billy Orr, President of the Flood and Drainage Control District stated, “For years we have debated this issue, and at some point we have to stop talking and start doing. Today’s vote is not about ‘levees’ or ‘lakes,’ but one of allowing us to pursue a feasible flood control effort that includes economic development opportunities. The people of Rankin and Hinds counties will remain susceptible to dangerous flooding conditions if we continue to debate the various flood control options. Today’s vote is a step closer to ensuring that we will not repeat the 1979 Easter Flood.”

Following a four-year study, the Corps of Engineers announced last month that a levee plan was the only feasible approach for flood control in the Metro Area due to high costs and environmental concerns. Any flood control plan is expected to exceed $300 million, and the Federal Government will share a portion of those costs not covered by local taxpayers. In addition, federal environmental laws must also be followed due to the sensitivity of altering water flows, dredging, and other flood control activities which will be involved. The Corps will be relied upon to assist with both cost and environmental issues.

“The bottom line is that we must have approval from the Corps of Engineers if we are to move forward, and the Corps has been crystal clear that it will not support the lakes plan. The Flood Control District sent a message to the Corps today that we want to continue our working relationship to provide flood control measure and that we believe we can include features that offer economic development opportunities.”

The mission of the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District (Flood Control District – also known as the Levee Board) is to control the surface and overflow waters within the boundaries of the Pearl River, in order to project citizens of the Metro Jackson area and their properties. Members of the Flood Control District include Billy Orr, President, (Rankin County), Socrates Garrett (Hinds County), Mayor Harvey Johnson (Jackson), Mayor Gary Rhoads (Flowood), Mayor Brad Rogers (Pearl), Mayor Mark Scarborough (Richland), and Leland Speed (Fairgrounds).