The Pearl River map turtle (Graptemys pearlensis) exists nowhere else in the world except the Pearl and Bogue Chitto Rivers. It is listed as an Endangered Species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Wild populations of the Pearl River map turtle have declined as much as 98% since 1950, mostly due to water pollution impacting our river's mollusk population. According to a publication by Kristina Alexander from Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program, dredging and widening the Pearl for the One Lake project would threaten the habitat of this species and another threatened species, the ringed map turtle. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has stated that "(i)f the proposed reservoir is completed, it would likely result in the extirpation of the known ringed map turtle population (south of the current reservoir)." Read more here: http://masglp.olemiss.edu/publications/conservation/mapturtle.pd
Signs of spring during a recent tour of the Fannye Cook Natural Area. The Natural Area, currently closed to the public except for private tours, is located on 2,700 acres along the banks of the Pearl River in Flowood. The land was donated to Wildlife Mississippi by MDOT through a wetlands mitigation program to offset losses of wetlands from previous road construction projects in the Pearl River Basin. Wildlife Mississippi is hard at work on preparations to open the Natural Area to the public. This beautiful space will be a haven for walkers, runners, bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts. There are also plans to add a much-needed kayak and/or boat launch at the location. According to MDOT, this will be Mississippi's largest urban natural area, with more than 820,000 people living within 60 miles of the site.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 5, "to express opposition to the 'One Lake' project", has been adopted by the Louisiana State Legislature, House and Senate. Thank you Senator Beth Mizell, Senator Sharon Hewitt, Representative Malinda Brumfield-White and others for authoring this bill and for your leadership in a holistic approach to the health of the Pearl River. This river belongs to all of us, not just the developers.
Pearl Riverkeeper spent an awesome day spent on the Middle Pearl yesterday helping Fish & Wildlife Service with their Juvenile Sturgeon population study. FWS is on their third year of tagging and tracking Pearl River juvenile Gulf sturgeons in order to study their population, movements and migration patterns. The Pearl River is designated "Critical Habitat" for this threatened species that migrates seasonally up and down the river. Gulf sturgeon move from the Gulf of Mexico into coastal rivers in early spring and spawning occurs in the upper reaches of these rivers. Dams such as the sills at Pools Bluff and Jackson Waterworks block this species' passage to its historical spawning habitats.
Packed house at the beautiful Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center for the One Lake Forum last night. Thank you to all of the community-minded, engaged citizens who came out to learn about the potential detrimental economic and environmental impacts of the One Lake project. We appreciate your heart-felt love for the Pearl River! #OneRiverNoLake
Citizen Science is in action at the Ross Barnett Reservoir!! Trainers from Global Water Watch came to MS this weekend to teach Pearl Riverkeeper volunteers about bacteriological water monitoring and watershed stewardship. So thankful for the training, expertise, guidance and laughs from Dr. Bill Deutsch and Sergio Ruiz-Cordova. And, as usual, our volunteers rock!! Thank you all! Stay tuned for more information about our summer water monitoring program designed to keep you informed about safe recreation on the Reservoir!
Our Pearl River cypress swamps contribute invaluable and irreplaceable ecological services to our local economy and communities. These wetlands soak up surface waters during heavy rains, reducing downstream flood peaks and lessoning the damage from flood waters. They provide habitat for an entire ecosystem and help sustain biodiversity. They retain and filter sediments and nutrients to increase water quality. They provide economic value in terms of eco-tourism activities such as boating, bird watching, hunting, fishing and hiking. They act as carbon sinks, providing long-term storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Destroying wetlands has a cascading, permanent detrimental effect on the health and welfare of a community. The One Lake project proposes the destruction of over 1,000 acres of Pearl River wetlands, robbing our future generations of a vital resource and permanently altering a river that belongs to all of us.