When will something be done about the weir?

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 17, 2016

If there’s one thing Pearl River County residents have an opinion about, it’s that Mississippi should get more water where the Pearl River diverts at Wilson Slough.

Boat rides along the Pearl River from the Walkiah Bluff launch to the slough are rough. Even experienced boat operators can expect to hit a snag, rock bar or sand bar on the way to deeper water near the weir.

Heading south from the boat launch is not an option. The water only gets shallower further south.

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That means, with time, the boat launch in Pearl River County that was supposed to grant public access to the county’s namesake, will soon be unusable during the summer months when people not only have the time, but the inclination to do so.

While it’s a step in the right direction that the Army Corps of Engineers has expressed an interest in working on the weir to address the issue, the concern comes two fold.

First, the project is competing for funding from other projects that may be deemed more important by someone who has never enjoyed its beauty.

Second, we’re at the mercy of a government organization to decide if, and when, the project will move forward. While the Mississippi Department of Transportation is a separate government organization from the Corps, Picayune residents remember the promises made to widen Highway 11. 

Decades later, that project has yet to take place and traffic is only getting worse along that heavily traveled roadway. 

We hope the Corps is able to move fast on this project, faster than MDOT has with the widening of the highway. 

It’s understood that rivers change due to natural processes. That means at times human intervention is needed to protect property and life. 

We just hope that if the project is approved, the next time human hands alter the flow of the river, it’s for the better.