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

The Yazoo Backwater 
The Yazoo Backwater Area (YBW) Project is in west-central Mississippi, immediately north of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The YBW is bounded on the west by the left descending bank of the Mississippi River Levee, the Yazoo Basin escarpment on the east, and the Yazoo River on the south. Historically, the area has been subject to flooding from backwater by the Mississippi River, as well as headwater flooding from the Yazoo River, Sunflower River, and Steele Bayou. The project has four major features: The Yazoo Backwater Area levee, associated water control structures, connecting channel, (all constructed by 1978) and the Yazoo Backwater Area pumping plant (unconstructed). The unconstructed pumping station is a component of USACE’s Preferred Alternative plan.


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.

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). 
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.

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