Each of the ten rivers are called "endangered" because they face some kind of big change on the horizon. In the case of Pearl River, it’s whether a new dam will be built in Jackson, Mississippi.
“Down in the lower part of the river, St. Tammany Parish is very concerned about this," says Helen Rose Patterson, Mississippi Organizer for the Gulf Restoration Network. She says the dam would restrict the flow of freshwater to the gulf and let more saltwater in at the mouth of the Pearl.
"That freshwater is so crucial for those estuaries in making sure we have healthy fish populations, shrimp populations, crab, oysters. And a lot of people around here make their living connected to that industry," she says. "Everyone from the people who harvested those things to processing, and on down to the restaurants that serve it."
Mississippi bills the dam as a much-needed flood control project. Louisiana opposes the plan, and hopes the Army Corps of Engineers will tell the developers to find a different solution for flooding — one that won’t affect the Pearl River’s natural flow.
Support for WWNO's Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, Kabacoff Family Foundation and Greater New Orleans Foundation.