Meetings seek to collect concerns, information on Pearl River

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 28, 2015

Two meetings will be held to gather public opinion and hear concerns about the future of the Pearl River Basin.
Both meetings will take place on March 17 in St. Tammany Parish.
The first meeting will be a conference where policy makers, government representatives and state executives can share their thoughts and vision for the important issues associated with the Pearl River.
Senior Service Hydrologist for the Weather Forecast Office at New Orleans/Baton Rouge Patricia Brown said the Corps of Engineers, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, and the United State Geological Service will have representatives at the conference. The aim is to discuss the important issues and dispel any misinformation that may be circulating about the Pearl River.
The meeting also hopes to hear about concerns from the fish kill, operations at Walkiah Bluff and operations at the Ross Barnett Reservoir, Brown said.
Additionally, the conference is looking to find ways to better predict where the water along the Pearl River is going and how the flow is actually working. She said previous river predictions by the National Weather Service did not pan out, so studies are underway to make those predictions more accurate.
While the conference aims to hear from policy makers, the public is invited to attend. The conference will be held at 8 a.m. in the St. Tammany Parish Government Building, located at 21490 Koop Drive in Mandeville, Louisiana.
A second event later that day is geared toward the public and will be held at 7 p.m. at Boyet Junior High in Slidell Louisiana, located at 59295 Rebel Drive. Brown said representatives with USGS, National Weather Service and St. Tammany Parish will be at the evening event to talk about developments, gather community concerns concerning hunting and fishing and cover developments and the science behind forecasts.
“The idea is to look at the river like a whole system much like we do the Mississippi River,” Brown said.
The goal of the National Weather Service is to be able to gather more accurate information that will help them release more accurate predictions in order to protect American lives and property, Brown said.
Brown said the meetings are not just for Louisiana residents and policy makers; they hope to hear from policy makers and residents of Mississippi as well.

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