Happening Now

OPPOSE the One Lake Project!

Please oppose the One Lake Project affecting the lower Pearl River Basin!

Slidell Public Meeting & Public Comment Period
for One Lake’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement

August 16, 6:00 pm
Slidell Municipal Auditorium
2056 2nd Street
Slidell, LA 70458

Orleans Audubon Society and other local environmentalists and conservationists have fought versions of the One Lake project since 1996. While we’ve won similar battles before, the current version of the One Lake project has gained more support than we anticipated. Public comments are critical to stopping this project! Whether or not you attend the August 16th meeting, please submit written comment. We will send instructions submitting written comments next week.

If you can attend the meeting tomorrow, please show up at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium early enough to register before 6:00 p.m. and wait until the period near the end of the meeting when comments are accepted. If you are so inclined, dictate your comments to the stenographer. For those not comfortable providing oral comments, please fill out and submit one of the comment forms.

What follows is background information on the One Lake project, our suggested key points to include in your comments, and the meeting schedule.

BACKGROUND: The Rankin Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District and the Pearl River Vision Foundation are holding a public meeting to explain why they are proposing the “One Lake” project and housing development and receive public comments on their Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Disguised as flood control, One Lake proposes to dam the Pearl River near Jackson, Mississippi, to create a 1,500-acre lake and develop subdivisions along the lake, immediately impacting a total of 2,500 acres of wildlife habitat. If approved, the project would also include dredging 10-miles of the Pearl River. The dam and dredging would change the flow (both the amount and the timing) of freshwater reaching all areas downstream of the dam. The downstream estuaries, the Mississippi Sound and Lake Borgne, are nurseries important to commercial fisheries. As such, the One Lake project is expected to have a devastating effect on the local seafood industry. The One Lake project will also jeopardize Louisiana’s oyster reef restoration efforts in the Biloxi Marsh as well as other coastal restoration projects in the area. In addition, it will degrade or destroy critical habitat for the federally-protected Gulf sturgeon, Ringed Sawback Turtle (endemic), Wood Stork, and Northern long-eared bat. It will also negatively impact important breeding habitat for the following species of conservation concern: Swallow-tailed Kite, Bald Eagle, and Pearl River Map Turtle (endemic).

Recognizing the multitude of problems that the One Lake project would cause downstream for local economies, communities and the environment, the Louisiana Legislature passed SCR No. 5, opposing the entire project. Bogalusa, Pearl River, and St. Tammany and Washington Parishes have passed similar resolutions opposing One Lake.

Suggested KEY POINTS to make criticizing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS) for the One Lake project:

The Draft EIS does not include a Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Report.
The Draft EIS does not include an Independent External Peer Review Report.
The Draft EIS does not include a Biological Opinion.
Official public notice of the Draft EIS has not appeared in the Federal Register.
Feel free to also include any of the criticisms provided in the “Background” information.

Public Meeting Schedule
1. Registration is required for all attendees (begins 6:00 p.m.; probably best to arrive early to allow time to register?)
2. Formal Presentation of the project (25 minutes)
3. Informal discussion/open house with project team and concurrent public comment (60-90 minutes)

Commenting Procedures
a. All attendees must sign-in at the start of the meeting
b. Due to potential logistical issues public comments shall only be submitted in written form or verbally to the stenographer.
c. Forms will be available for those wishing to submit written comments.
d. Other written comments (letters etc.) will be accepted during the public meeting, emailed to
rankinhinds@gmail.com, made at the project web site; rankinshindsflooddistrict.ms.gov or may be mailed to Rankin Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District, P.O. Box 320790,
Flowood, MS 39232.

Photo by Terri Skelton


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