Pumps would destroy wetlands

Dear Editor

For the second year in a row, efforts are underway in Congress to revive the destructive Yazoo Backwater Pumps—a project that would drain and destroy 200,000 acres of wetlands in the heart of the Mississippi River Flyway.

Please urge your Congressional leaders to reject efforts to resurrect the costly, devastating Yazoo Pumps.

In 2008, the George W. Bush administration stopped the project by issuing a veto through the Clean Water Act. The rare decision protected rich habitats of Mississippi’s Lower Yazoo River Basin that support more than 250 species of birds, 20 percent of our country’s duck populations, and hundreds of species of fish and wildlife.

Now some in Congress, including Mississippi’s own delegation, are using the Delta’s recent flooding to revive the Yazoo Pumps.

Authorized by Congress in 1941, this outdated proposal has repeatedly drawn wide opposition from tens of thousands of Americans and the majority of Mississippians who commented on the project. Although touted to provide flood control, the Yazoo Pumps were designed to drain wetlands to help large landowners intensify farming on marginal lands that have always flooded.

There is no guarantee this project could keep communities flood-free, nor is there evidence that it would have alleviated the area’s recent flooding. By destroying wetlands that provide natural flood protection, the Pumps would only make the backwater area more vulnerable. This 100 percent taxpayer-financed project also cannot pass a basic cost-benefit analysis.

Instead, many federal programs are available now that could provide immediate, cost-effective benefits for affected homeowners, businesses, and farmers.

Urge your Congressional leaders to reject the Pumps in favor of more affordable, effective options.


Jill Mastrototaro

Policy Director,  Audubon Mississippi