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Army Corp Plans To Flood Lake to Protect Community

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 29 Apr 2011 04:49pm | comments
Earl Eubanks stands on a step that will soon be underwater.

The US Army Corp is in the process of raising the level of a lake off the Mississippi River. Increasing the water level will destroy some homes, docks and other structures around the lake. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that officials say raising the lake will also prevent a much bigger flooding disaster.

Eagle Lake sits just off the Mississippi river about 15 miles North of Vicksburg.

However, the lake sits below the Mississippi and the levee that protects it is leaking.

Peter Nimrod with the Mississippi Levee Board told members at a community gathering they will raise the level of the lake almost 14 feet in order to take pressure of the levee and control the leaks.

"If that levee failed down there, this property here will be completely destroyed as well as water shooting up toward Greenville, Mississippi. This is a serious matter, it is a weak spot," Nimrod said.

Army Corp officials say some leaking is natural and plans were the works for a permanent fix...but the approaching flood makes the matter more urgent.

Diane Wallace owns Sunset View R-V park, which sits right on top of the lake in a flood zone....Wallace plans to evacuate her Park and take her 83-year old Mother in law out of the area until the flood passes.

"When people are scared they ask for a miracle. They don't need to wait till we need a miracle, because we got plenty of time if people will just go ahead and heed the warning. I mean some property damage is going to be lost, but honestly I can absorb a small loss, outside of somebody getting hurt, " Wallace said.

Standing inside his boathouse on Eagle Lake, Earl Eubanks measures where the water will be when the lake rises...about 3 feet over head, nearly submerging the whole structure.

His home is up a short bluff and Eubanks points out on his home's foundation how close the waters will be if the flood is as any worse than expected.

"Right here, second brick. That's your flood level and that is what they go by. You have got to be above that to have flood insurance out here in this area. We are six inches above," Eubanks said.

Eubanks and others in the community a prepared to accept the higher lake, if it keeps the levee from breaking and flooding their entire area.

Still many people are planning to leave because even if the levee holds, large parts of the community will flood and the few roads that reach Eagle Lake will wash out....potentially isolating the community for months.


Earl Eubanks stands on a step that will soon be underwater.



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