Report To The People

Bill Would Authorize Funds For Watershed Rehabilitation

By Tommy Reynolds

 

Last week the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1506, which I introduced, which would provide $5,000,000 for the Mississippi Watershed Repair and Rehabilitation Cost-Share Program. This program is administered by the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

Ten years ago, I introduced a Bill which authorized $5,000,000 in bonds to be issued, and to date, from this Bill, Yalobusha County has received $439,371.22 in Watershed Rehabilitation Repair projects. These projects have included projects on many of the flood control and conservation structures and drainage districts in Yalobusha County.

We are very fortunate that there has been federal money provided that has dovetailed with the State money. After our 1998 program was passed, Senator Cochran obtained funds which have been used by the Soil and Water Conservation Commission for additional work for flood control.

It is my hope that if House Bill 1506 is passed by the Senate, and signed by the Governor, similar Federal funds will be provided. This Bill will authorize projects which will assist local cities, counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Drainage Districts, in meeting their local match for federal projects, to restructure existing dams, now classified as high hazard dams. These structures are required by the Department of Environmental Quality to meet today’s construction specifications. The dams may not have changed, but construction downstream may have raised the hazard classification. The Bill will also provide for smaller repair projects to repair deteriorated equipment, spillways, and erosion.

I share the belief with others that our soil and water resources are truly a legacy that we must leave to our children, and it is my hope that House Bill 1506 will help to maintain the tradition of support for conservation of our soil resource that has been so strong in our great state.

If I can be of any assistance to you please call on me. My phone number in Jackson during the session is (601) 359-3365. The phone number in my Charleston office is (662) 647-3203, and my residence phone number is (662) 473-2571. I can also be contacted by writing me at my home address of 15 CR 429, Water Valley, MS 38965, or at my office address of P.O. Box 220, Charleston, MS 38921.

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