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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

Vol 9 No 9, Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Madrid Floodway

Accepting Comments during

“Review Session”

until Monday, Sept 9th

Paddlers and river-rats: please consider writing a letter to register your opposition. We're about to lose 80,000 of floodway/wetlands in the Missouri Bootheel. This may be the only chance to speak up about it and get the EPA involved. The EPA would love to veto this project, but they need to hear your voice. Together we could make a difference. Remember how “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot?” Well they’re about to pave paradise. Wake up before you hear your screen door slam as they “take away your old man...” Write a letter and send to all of the below contacts. See end of dispatch for a few sample letters.

Editorial

The proposed St. Johns and New Madrid Floodway Project would remove an 80,000 acre floodplain from the Lower Mississippi River in the Missouri Bootheel just below Cairo Illinois. This would result in a severe disruption of the natural processes of the Mississippi River by cutting and removing the main channel from its wetlands. There is only one reason to complete this project, and that is for increased farming and industry in places that it really shouldn’t be located. Hey, we can find 80,000 acres elsewhere for farming and industry. But there is nowhere as significant to the health of our nation as the floodplain of its biggest river, the Mighty Mississippi. Cairo, Illinois and everyone downstream will be effected by this closure. The waters will rise a little bit higher in each future flood as result. The US Army Corps of Engineers is asking for your input on a project called the St. Johns and New Madrid Floodway project. The defining component of this project is a new ¼ mile long, 60 ft. high levee that will sever the Mississippi River from an 80,000 acre floodplain in SE Missouri, eliminating critical fish and wildlife habitat, and putting dozen of river towns & cities downstream at increased flooding threat (including Memphis, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and everyone in between). The Dead Zone will be a little bigger every year as result of increased nutrients in the river. Make a phone call, send a letter or email. Keep reading below for contacts and more information.

Comments can be submitted

to the following:

Mr. Brad Horchem

U.S. EPA region 7

11201 Renner Blvd

Lenexa, Kansas

horchem.brad@epa.gov

USACE NEPA Coordinator

Mr. Joshua Koontz

Upper Delta Environmental Compliance Branch

167 N. Main, Room B-202

Memphis, TN 38103-1894

Phone: (901) 544-3975

Fax:(901) 544-3955 joshua.m.koontz@usace.army.mil

USACE Project Manager:

Mr. Danny Ward

Project Management Branch

167 N. Main, Room B-202

Memphis, TN 38103-1894

Phone: (901) 544-0709

Fax:(901) 544-3955

daniel.d.ward@usace.army.mil

For more information about project visit:

http://www.mvm.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects/StJohnsBayouandNewMadridFloodwayProject.aspx

and also:

www.nwf.org/newmadrid

Examples of letters already sent:

Aug 27, 2013

Mr. Joshua Koontz

Upper Delta Environmental Compliance Branch

167 N. Main, Room B-202

Memphis, TN 38103-1894

Dear Mr. Koontz,

I want to go on record as opposing the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project

Before I retired to Mississippi from California 10 years ago, I had never kayaked. I'm now an avid paddler, both on the Mississippi itself and several of its tributaries. The river and its flood plain, aside from their aesthetic and recreational values, are critical habitat for scores of air, land, and water-borne species.

The Mississippi River is the cultural and geographical heart of the country. More clinically, it is the aortic artery. The Mississippi and its dependent plant and animal systems can only take so much encroachment, and we're long past the point where, as a nation, we should have stopped taking from the river and started giving back to it. The appetite of farmers, industrialists, and developers for new land is insatiable, and the line must be drawn somewhere. I suggest it be at the site of this project, in the Missouri Bootheel.

I urge the responsible decision makers to block the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project.

Best regards,

Cliff Lawson

301 Panola Street

Water Valley, MS 38965

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From: Keith Kirkland

Sent: Friday, August 30, 2013 10:28 AM Pacific Standard Time
To: Pogue, James T MVM; Koontz, Joshua MVM
Subject: Opposing St. Johns Bayou New Madrid Floodway Project

Cc: Quapaw Canoe Company <john@island63.com>

Jim, I’ve been with the Wolf River Conservancy for 27 years now, and we appreciate your support with the Wolf River Restoration Project.

However, I want to inform the U.S. Corps that I vigorously oppose the St. Johns Bayou – New Madrid Floodway Project!

Closing off these vital wetlands to satisfy a few wealthy, politically powerful farmers does not make good ecological or financial sense.

The ability of this floodway to assist with major floods by storing and retaining floodwaters, its thousands of acres of wetlands that will be blocked by the new levee and the importance of these wetlands for wildlife, and the threats to communities downstream when major flooding occurs again are all great reasons for me to oppose this project.

Please register my opposition to this plan,

Thanks,

Keith Kirkland

Director of Outreach

Wolf River Conservancy

P.O. Box 11031

Memphis, TN 38111

901-486-1919 Cell

Keith@wolfriver.org

www.wolfriver.org

-------------------------------------------------------

From: Keith Kirkland

Subject: Opposing St. Johns Bayou New Madrid Floodway Project

Date: August 30, 2013 3:06:09 PM CDT

To: horchem.brad@epa.gov

Cc: Quapaw Canoe Company <john@island63.com>

Mr. Brad Horchem,

I am contacting you via contact info from the U.S. Corps of Engineers Memphis office.

As a regular Mississippi River paddler, and environmentalist, I strongly oppose closing off this important floodway by closing the New Madrid levee.

This will shut off from the river a huge area of wetlands that also serves to relieve flooding.

Thanks – and good luck in blocking this destructive and harmful project!

Keith Kirkland

Director of Outreach

Wolf River Conservancy

P.O. Box 11031

Memphis, TN 38111

901-486-1919 Cell

Keith@wolfriver.org

www.wolfriver.org

Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

brought to you courtesy of the:

Lower Mississippi River Foundation

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