The Environmental Protection Agency released the long-awaited Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Yazoo Backwater Pumps Project on October 16, 2020. The public will have the opportunity to submit comments on the statement until November 30, 2020.
The SEIS does not reexamine the alternatives presented in the 2007 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) but will be used to reevaluate those alternatives considering new environmental data. The SEIS proposes a 14,000 cfs pump station to operate at the elevation of 87.0 feet. The Steele Bayou structure would maintain water elevations of 68.5 and 70.0 feet during low flow periods.
The plan calls for the reforestation and conservation of up to 2,700 acres of agricultural lands through perpetual easements from willing sellers. Acquisition of 2,405 acres of frequently flooded agricultural lands in fee title and subsequent reforestation of these lands would be pursued to offset any unavoidable losses to wetlands, terrestrial, aquatic and waterfowl resources.
The proposed plan also calls for the installation of 34 supplemental low flow groundwater wells adjacent to the Mississippi River and above the Yazoo Backwater Study Area to provide flow during low flow periods.
“We strongly encourage everyone to submit their support of the SEIS and to urge EPA and the U.S. Corp of Engineers to quickly approve and begin construction on the pumps,” Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick said.