Federal agency to help pay for Mississippi flood control

Oct 4, 2022, 9:25 AM | Updated: 10:02 am

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — A federal agency has set aside money to help guard Mississippi’s capital city and surrounding areas against flood damage following two deluges in three years.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday that it has budgeted $221 million to help fund a local flood-control project. Local leaders described the project as “decades in the making.”

“After decades of waiting, the citizens of Jackson have finally seen this project come to fruition,” said Robert Graham, a supervisor in Hinds County, where Jackson is located.

The current levee system doesn’t protect parts of Jackson and the nearby suburbs that are prone to flooding, officials said. The Pearl River Flood Control Project would widen the river that runs through the Jackson area, allowing more water to move through during floods. It would also enlarge levees and remove chokepoints that have caused water to flow over the river banks onto residential areas.

It would protect local counties from more than $1 billion in potential damages, according to Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

“As I have emphasized repeatedly to the administration, each year that the Jackson metro area lacks adequate flood control is another year when we risk repeating the disaster of the Easter Flood of 1979,” Wicker said, referring to a flood that caused waters to rise to record highs.

In 2020, days of torrential downpours caused the Pearl River to reach 36.7 feet (11.2 meters) and Jackson homes in the hardest hit neighborhoods were filled with dirty, snake-infested flood water. This year, a swollen Pearl River flooded streets and some homes in Jackson after storms dumped heavy rain. The flooding exacerbated longstanding problems in one of the city’s two water-treatment plants and left people without running water for days.

Officials said Monday’s announcement is the first step in an ongoing process. The Corps still needs to give local officials the final approval to begin construction.

The $221 million budgeted by the Corps is part of an $800 million sum the agency plans to spend around the country after receiving funds from the federal infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden.

The project will cost $340 million in total, according to Keith Turner, an attorney working on the project. Local officials will need to come up with the remaining funds. “We are working several approaches for these funds including revenue bonds for a portion,” Turner said in an email.

Local officials have submitted a 3,000-page environmental impact statement to the Corps. The agency will review the statement and issue a final decision on the project. The final decision likely won’t be made for several months, but federal officials have been optimistic about the project’s approval, according to Turner.

Local officials said the project would be a step toward stability for a city beset by water woes.

“Jackson has been through a lot. And we’ve weathered the storm,” Graham said. “For the citizens of northeast Jackson, Rankin County, Hinds County, we want to make sure you understand that help is on the way.”


Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikergoldberg.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

2 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

2 days ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

2 days ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

2 days ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

4 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Federal agency to help pay for Mississippi flood control