Supervisors asked to name local turtle as county reptile

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

During Monday’s Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting, county leaders were asked to consider naming the Pearl River map turtle as the county reptile.

Concerned citizen Mary Beth Magee brought the request before the Board after her research showed the newly discovered turtle is endangered but not protected under federal law.

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Discovered in 2010, the Pearl River map turtle looks a lot like most any other turtle seen in the river, such as a red-eared slider or green-bellied slider. The major difference with the Pearl River map turtle is the black stripe down the center of its shell on the back and prominent ridges on its shell.

The turtle is unique to this area, and is endangered, Magee said. Since the federal government has yet to add the turtle to the endangered species list, Magee hopes that by naming the Pearl River map turtle as Pearl River County’s official reptile, it will bring more exposure to the animal’s plight, and help protect it from extinction.

The Board decided to take Magee’s proposal under advisement.

In other business, work to replace a bridge on Shenandoah Road near Poplarville is expected to begin at the first of the year. Les Dungan with Dungan Engineering said the project will replace the timber piling bridge that is currently there, and expects that work to begin before the next round of bridge inspections is conducted in this area by the state.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin updated the Board about the status of Families First, a program that Gov. Phil Bryant initiated and picked Pearl River County as one of six to pilot. Lumpkin said that this county was the first to hire a coordinator for the program and as such already had success stories to share with the Mississippi Supreme Court during a visit by local Youth Court Judge Richelle Lumpkin on Nov. 30.

Board President Sandy Kane Smith said the program is doing good things for residents of the county. Adrain Lumpkin said the program provides assistance to families who have met with misfortune to ensure the home is suitable for children, thereby ensuring families stay together during hardships. Smith used an example of a home losing power after the recent severe storm. Through Families First, an electrician was found to help restore power to the home faster than if the family had to pay for that service, Board member Hudson Holliday said.

The next meeting of the Board will be Dec. 19, at 9 a.m. in the courthouse on Julia Street in Poplarville.