Clean Water : It's Your Legacy - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Clean Water : It's Your Legacy

Project Title:

Clean Water It's Your Legacy Campaign

List Expenses:

We received $100,000 grant from Rankin County.  To further the money for the campaign we have solicited partners and they include:

Coca Cola, Benchmark Homes, Geo-Products Inc., Engineering Service, Growing Greener Community Forestry Services, Myrick Home Construction, Pickering, The Woodward Group, Irish Oaks Farm, Bass Pro Shops and Mississippi Music.

Type of Project (Air, Land, Water, waste or energy efficiency):

Water quality clean up of the Ross Barnett Reservoir

Description of Project:

The Mill Creek Education Team has a three year plan to solve the problem.  The first phase of the plan was to utilize the Northwest Rankin High Schools to create a website - www.rezkeepers.com; create educational flyers for 5,000 Pearl River Valley Water Supply District customers; create logos, artwork and radio service announcements for WaterFest '08 - a water quality event planned June 21st, 2008 at Lakeshore Park at the reservoir.  The students have completed all assignments and have done an outstanding job to assist team members. After WaterFest (this is the 2nd WaterFest after WaterFest '07, High Impact meetings are planned with developers; an erosion control plan is underway with Best Management Practices being installed on the high school property and the Lakewatch program is being planned and the team will install watershed signs in the areas of concentrations in the watershed that need attention.

Name of Group:

Mill Creek Watershed Implementation Education Team

Number of Persons in Group: 6

List the Goals of the Group Project:

To bring attention to the need to improve and protect water quality in and around the Rankin County side of the Ross Barnett Reservoir.  Sediment levels are at an all time high in the reservoir according and are clogging the navigational channels.  Litter, trash and other debris are other issues impacting neighborhoods and waterways.  The goal of this project is to create awareness and create a local watershed group of citizens to help create Lakewatch and other educational programs to address the issues.

Additional Information on your project (Optional):

I have been working the natural resource arena for 28 years. This is my home.  When it happens in your own backyard -- you take it personally.  My husband said he knew why God moved us to the area.  My knowledge that I have been blessed with in my job is now being used to take care of my own property.  With the help of state agency friends, county assistance and local neighbors we will make it a better place.

What are the benefits of your Project? :

The reservoir is Jackson's drinking water supply.  The EPA came into the area and said it was going to be their priority watershed in Mississippi for the next three years.  Developers putting up silt fences, planting grass and using Best Management Practices when developing new sites will greatly reduce this problem.  Dredging has been the only solution for PRVWSD and it costs $500,000 a year to dredge the silt that others have been contributing to the water after heavy rains.  When the problem is resolved, dredging can stop; fish habitats will improve; it will cost less for the city of Jackson to clean the water--everyone will benefit.

What have you learned from your Project? :

It has been very difficult to create a locally led watershed group.  The public doesn't understand watersheds and where the pollution comes from when it rains.  They are quick to point fingers and most of the time, they are pointing at the wrong source.  I moved in the area 9 years ago.  Three years we noticed the sediment levels were high coming in from urban construction.  Contacting DEQ, EPA, Pearl River Valley Water Supply District and the county, I have learned that there are no quick solutions and that you can't give up when the journey itself is the goal.  Even though I don't own the water, it is in my backyard and my goal is protect and clean up what has been given to me.

List Materials Used:

We solicited a grant from the Rankin County Board of Supervisors.  The grant was given to the Central Miss. Resource Conservation and Development Council.  The team hired an event planner for WaterFest '08 and we have been meeting targeting priorities.  The Northwest Rankin High School students were a fantastic group to work with in the campaign.

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