ROLLING FORK, Miss. (WJTV) – Locals in the Delta area were able to voice their thoughts to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after seven months of living in flooded farm fields, roads, and washed away homes.
“I didn’t make a crop this year and that is my livelihood,” Valley Park farmer David Johnson says.
“If this had happened in a more populated area we wouldn’t be here talking today,” Ann Dahl of Eagle Lake stated.
Back February, the Mississippi River rose above flood stage at 98.2 Feet.
This forced the Steele Bayou gates to close, causing water to engulf nearly 550,000 acres in the Delta.
“We are looking for the best avenue to address flood protection here in light of what we know now,” Mary Walker of the EPA said. “We do not want to see the flooding that happened this spring happen again.”
David Johnson, a Valley Park farmer, said he was not able to make a crop this year due to the intense flooding.
“Without the pumps, there is more harm done than good,” Johnson argued. “There are no wetlands being preserved with the floodwaters going to 96-97 feet.”
In 2008, the EPA vetoed a bill that would have required pumps to be installed out of fear it would drain the wetlands region.
“We had two people die because of the backwater flood,” Peter Nimrod with the Mississippi Levee Board said. “Their car was found 10 feet underwater and they died, the woman was pregnant so that’s actually three people. Please don’t leave Mississippi without a plan in place to allow construction of the Yazoo Backwater Pumps.”
Many believe the pumps would have stopped the water from backing up as high as it did.
“Eagle Lake, Mississippi sustained probably of all the homes in the Delta, 438 houses out of 571 that were affected by this,” Dahl said. “They’re having to demolish probably about 20 something in my neighborhood.”
“We’re looking at all the information we have and all the tools available and working very closely with the Corp,” Walker said. “So we can find a path to address the flooding.”
The Mississippi Department of Transportation and Wildlife Fisheries and Parks also presented slideshows detailing animals and roads that were damaged and costly for the state including tracking and containing chronic wasting disease now that deer herds have scattered.