In April 1979, the catastrophic Easter flood occurred in the Pearl River Basin, which devastated the city of Jackson. Following that event, Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District (the Corps) to develop a comprehensive flood control plan for the Jackson metro area. Two such plans evaluated by the Corps included Shoccoe Dam in the early 1980s and the Comprehensive Levee Plan in the late 1980’s. The Corps of Engineers is the federal agency authorized to implement flood risk management solutions throughout the United States; however, the Corps must have a non-federal entity to act as a local sponsor for its projects. Although the Corps evaluated these two plans, and at the time, determined they were technically and economically sound (i.e., they provided cost-effective flood control to Jackson), neither plan was able to attract a local, non-federal sponsor willing to partner with the Corps for implementation.
As the local sponsor for the existing levee system (a federal flood control project) the Flood Control District contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in 2013 to development a Feasibility Study/Environmental Impact Statement (FS/EIS) to evaluate alternative plans to reduce the risk of flooding caused by the Pearl River in Rankin and Hinds Counties.
The Rankin Hinds Pearl River Flood & Drainage Control District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement utilizing Section 211 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1996. Under this section, non-federal interest may prepare, for approval by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the necessary studies and design components to implement a flood risk reduction project, subject to State and Federal regulations.
- Water Resources Development Act of 1986 Authorization for construction of flood control for the Pearl River Basin is contained in Section 401(e)(3) of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 (Public Law 99-662).
- Water Resources Development Act of 2007 Section 3104 modifies the Pearl River Basin project authorization by section 4019(e)(3) of WRDA 1986 to authorize and construct the NED plan, the locally preferred plan (LLP) or some combination thereof, and non-federal interest may carry out the project under Section 211 WRDA 1996.