Hancock Co. city leaders vote against diversion fearing it could have similar effects of spillway

Hancock Co. city leaders vote against diversion fearing it could have similar effects of spillway
The Hancock County Board of Supervisors wants a seat at the table as Louisiana considers the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion Project. (Source: Photo WLOX)

HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Hancock County city leaders are saying no to the construction of a diversion on the Mississippi River’s East Bank.

The Board of Supervisors fear it could be a repeat of the Bonnet Carre Spillway’s opening

“The feds should never allow something like this to happen again,” said fisherman Kris Yoder.

Yoder says the ocean runs in his blood, and when the Mississippi Sound suffers he feels every symptom.

“I got to watch first-hand the disaster that was the spillway release,” he said.

As the events of this summer have proven, freshwater from the Bonnet Carre Spillway hurt the Coast’s wildlife and economy.

"We’re asking federal leaders, state leaders, to take a closer look,” said Hancock County Board of Supervisors President, Blaine LaFontaine.

The Board wants a seat at the table as Louisiana considers the Mid-Breton Sediment Diversion Project.

The plan is to keep the Mississippi River from flooding. The diversion would be on the river’s east bank creating a continuous flow into the ocean.

“We believe the Mississippi River is one of the biggest threats to the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” LaFontaine said.

Hancock County passed a resolution to oppose the project and asked Governor Bryant to do the same.

LaFontaine hopes to work closely with Louisiana to protect coastal resources.

“Look at our environment. Look at the ecosystems. Look at the impacts to our economy,” he urged.

Yoder says he first started seeing effects from the opening of the spillway months ago.

“In June, we were catching so many drum and redfish because they were all pushed out of the Pontchartrain down to here. All the fish were covered with big sores,” Yoder explained.

LaFontaine says the effects of freshwater in the Gulf can’t be ignored and hopes for future research to support that.

“How we manage the Mississippi River for not only today but for the future. We need to take into [consideration] the adverse impacts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,”

"They never should do this again. This was a disaster,” Yoder said.

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