If you have comments and/or questions related to Vicksburg District’s Section 508 program or if you have concerns related to the Section 508 ICT accessibility of any content or the user interface on this website, please send an e-mail to VicksburgDistrict@USACE.Army.mil. Where applicable, please include in your e-mail the web address or URL and the specific accessibility barrier(s) you are encountering.

The Yazoo Backwater

Welcome to the Yazoo Backwater Project website.  This page will provide the latest information, including project updates and schedules. 

Update July 11, 2024: Public Meeting July 22 and 23 (Presentation & Public Comments)

   

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District invites the public to participate in an informational public meeting regarding the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Yazoo Backwater Area Water Management Project. 

Meeting Details:

  • Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2024
  • Time: 10 AM  - 2 PM - 6 PM
  • Location: South Delta Elementary School, 138 Weathers Ave, Rolling Fork, MS 39159

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District invites the public to participate in an informational public meeting regarding the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Yazoo Backwater Area Water Management Project. 

Meeting Details:

  • Date: Tuesday, July 23, 2024
  • Time: 10:00 AM  - 2:00 PM - 6 PM
  • Location: Vicksburg City Auditorium, 901 Monroe St, Vicksburg, MS 39183

Update: July 8, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District invites the public to participate in an informational virtual public meeting regarding the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Yazoo Backwater Area Water Management Project. 

Meeting Details:

Join by Phone:

  • US Toll Free: +1-844-800-2712
  • US Toll: +1-669-234-1177
  • Access Code: 2761 069 4978

The public meeting will provide an overview of the DEIS and its findings, and participants may submit comments via the chat function. The public meeting will provide an overview of the DEIS and its findings, and participants may submit comments via the chat function. The public’s input is crucial in shaping the final Environmental Impact Statement

Update: June 28, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released the 2024 proposed water management plan on June 28, 2024. The DEIS reflects open dialogue with affected communities and stakeholders and the Corps looks forward to continuing to hear from communities, the public, and interested parties during the public comment period to ensure all interested parties have an opportunity to be heard. All input provided will be considered in the development of the final environmental impact statement.  In person and virtual public sessions will also be scheduled to provide additional opportunities for engagement.


The comment period will conclude on August 12, 2024.
Please note: Page ii of the Main Document (link below) incorrectly shows July 01, 2024 as the final day to submit comments.  We apologize for this error and any confusion it may have caused.


Click this link to submit comments via email: YazooBackwater@usace.army.mil

 

Or by postal mail to:

Attention: CEMVK-PPMD
Vicksburg District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
4155 East Clay Street
Vicksburg, Mississippi, 39183


High Mississippi River events can require the closure of the Steele Bayou water control structure. When that water control structure is closed, rain can accumulate behind the levee within the YSA drainage system, causing flooding in the Yazoo Backwater Study Area (YSA). The 2024 proposed water management plan for the YSA builds on decades of public input and a legacy of environmental data and is informed by a robust interagency partnership as well as new environmental and hydrologic data. The 2024 water management plan addresses the flood risk aspect of the YSA, inclusive of structural and non-structural features, while supporting continued environmental and ecological health and mitigating impacts.

The Corps has engaged in concerted and meaningful coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) under a 2023 collaboration memorandum of understanding while also extensively engaging with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This collaboration has informed a plan that addresses longstanding flooding issues while preserving ecological functions that are essential to wildlife in the area. The plan includes managing water levels during the crop and non-crop seasons using the existing gate structures, including allowing for increased fisheries exchange to the backwater area, and the addition of a pumping station feature to provide vital water management solutions for flood risk reduction for communities and the local economy while avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating environmental impacts. The plan also includes a non-structural component consisting of acquisition of primary residential properties in the most frequently flooded areas and optional acquisition of or placement of restrictive easements on agricultural lands in the most frequently flooded land. Finally, the collaborating federal agencies will enter into agreements on adaptive management and monitoring, compensatory mitigation planning, and water operations.

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has published the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Section 404(b)(1) for the Yazoo Basin, Yazoo Backwater, Mississippi, Project.

This study was originally authorized by the Flood Control Act (FCA) on 18 August 1941 (House Document [HD] 359/77/1), and further amended by the FCA of 22 December 1944 and 27 October 1965 (HD 308/88/2) and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 and 1996. The 1941 authorization and subsequent modifications, the authorized flood control features included levees, associated drainage channels, pump stations, and water control structures designed to provide flood protection to five subareas of the Yazoo Basin. The DEIS analysis evaluates remaining unconstructed features in one of the five subareas of the authorized Yazoo Basin, Yazoo Backwater, Mississippi, Project Area, and presents a new water management solution to reduce flood risk resulting from high stages of the Mississippi River and consists of structural and nonstructural components. The DEIS and presented alternatives reflect sponsor, agency, stakeholders, and public input and present options to reduce damages from flood risk in the project area. 

The 45-day public review period will begin Friday, June 28, 2024, and end Monday, August 12, 2024.

For further information, please contact Mr. Mike Renacker via e-mail: YazooBackwater@usace.army.mil 

You may also request additional information by mail to:

Attention: CEMVK-PPMD
c/o USACE, Vicksburg District
4155 East Clay Street
Vicksburg, Mississippi 39183

 

Yazoo Backwater Study Area Frequently Asked Questions

Collapse All Expand All
 Q. How was the proposal developed?
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have been coordinating with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) since scoping this proposal and have provided opportunities for public input at in-person meetings and via written comment. 
  • The Corps has sought to ensure that interested parties had an opportunity to be heard as the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Yazoo Backwater Study Area (YSA) project was developed. Through this current public comment period on the draft, we are working to ensure all interested parties can review the proposed water management plan and provide their input.
  • Through the interagency coordination with USEPA and USFWS, the Corps enabled each agency to leverage their respective knowledge, expertise, data, tools, and authorities to craft responsive solutions addressing the diverse challenges presented by the persistent flooding of the YSA, including the local community’s experiences during and after the 2019 flooding event.
 Q. What will the Corps do with the comments received? Will we receive responses to our comments?
  • The Corps will review all comments and provide summaries and responses that will be included in a Public Involvement Report. The final EIS will reflect any changes made as a result of public comments, as appropriate.
 Q. When does the comment period for the draft environmental impact statement close?
  • The comment period closes on August 12, 2024, 45 days after the release of the DEIS.
 Q. When will the EIS be finalized?
  • The timeline will depend on the nature of the comments received and the need, if any, for additional analysis. However, the intent is to finalize the EIS and a Record of Decision later this year. The current public outreach process will inform the decision as to which alternative will be chosen.
 Q. Why has it taken the Corps so long to issue this DEIS?
  • Addressing flooding in the Yazoo Study Area in a scientifically valid way that avoids, minimizes, and mitigates impacts to important ecological resources is a priority. The Corps worked through a collaborative interagency process with USEPA and USFWS to leverage each agency’s knowledge, expertise, data, tools, and authorities to craft responsive solutions addressing the diverse challenges presented by the persistent flooding of the YSA. 
  • Due to the high degree of public interest in the community related to the flooding and to prior proposals, the Corps elected to engage intensely with the public prior to drafting the Notice of Intent to Conduct Scoping and again prior to drafting the DEIS.

A graphical map depicting the 4,093 square miles in the Yazoo Backwater Area

 

Flood Protection Authorization
The Flood Control Acts of 1941, 1950, Section 3(b)); 1944 (Section 10); 1965 (Section 204); Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)1986, Section 103; WRDA 1996, Section 202 authorized the YBW to protect a portion of the Yazoo Basin against all but large floods from the Mississippi River.
The congressional actions authorized the Yazoo Backwater Project to provide protection from higher stages on the Mississippi River resulting from the removal of the Eudora Floodway Project in Arkansas and Louisiana from the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) Project.

 

A graphical depiction of the drainage in the Yazoo Backwater area.

 

The Preferred Alternative Plan
The Yazoo Backwater Area has flooded for nine out of the last 10 years. The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)) tasked the Vicksburg District with developing a plan that will curb flooding that damages businesses, property, and disrupts wildlife. The Preferred Alternative plan includes a 25,000 cubic feet per second pumping plant, new water management of backwater flooding (90 feet NGVD during crop season and 93 feet NGVD during non-crop season), nonstructural features such as optional buyouts and/or floodproofing, and adaptive monitoring and management approaches.

Timeline
9 January 2023:
USACE received a “Joint Memorandum of Collaboration Between the U.S.  Department of the Army for Civil Works (CW) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency” dually signed by the ASA and EPA outlining a five-month plan to address flood risk in the Yazoo Backwater area. During the five-month planning phase, technical teams comprised of MVK, ERDC, EPA, and USFWS collaborated to develop a preferred alternative, which was announced in a series of public sessions on 4-5 May 2023.  
(pics from the public sessions)

7 July 2023:
Public comments were incorporated into the Preferred Alternative and published in a Notice of Intent (NOI). 
Ongoing:
The Vicksburg District will continue to collaborate with cooperating agencies to analyze project impacts and evaluate alternatives that will be incorporated into an Environmental Impact Statement.

(NOI)
Public comments were accepted on the Notice of Intent. A high-level comment summary is provided below.  
Next Steps:
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is scheduled to be published in May 2024, with the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) expected November 2024.

 


 

A photo of the recent Yazoo Backwater Project public meeting with numerous attendees.

Yazoo Backwater Area Community Listening Session - May 2023


A photo of the recent Yazoo Backwater Area public meeting with numerous attendees.

Yazoo Backwater Public Meeting - Feb 2023

Yazoo Backwater Notice of Intent Public Comments Summary

Yazoo Backwater Area Water Management Project NOI for EIS