More ramps open in Pelahatchie Bay

Battle against salvinia continues to be successful.

Following another good report from its partners in the battle against the invasive plant giant salvinia, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District board of directors Thursday opened four additional boat ramps and a kayak ramp in the Pelahatchie Bay area of Barnett Reservoir.

The public launch at Highway 471, the ramp at Pelahatchie Bay Trading Post, and the ramps in the Harbour View and Fox Bay subdivisions join Pelahatchie Shore Park as the only open ramps in the Bay. The ramps will all return to normal operating hours of sunrise to sunset.

In addition, the kayak launch at Turtle Point off Scenic Drive will reopen. All other access points to Pelahatchie Bay remain closed.

“We are hopeful that the public understands the importance of self-inspecting their boats for any signs of vegetation before and after their visit by practicing ‘clean, drain and dry,’” said PRVWSD Director John Sigman. “We’ve been pleased with what we’ve accomplished, with the public’s cooperation, so far at Pelahatchie Shore Park.

“We’ve had very few cases of boats coming back in with any vegetation, and none of those involved giant salvinia. If we can continue to see those results and see that boaters are helping us, then we hope that keeping the lake low, basically stranding and drying the salvinia on exposed ground, then we can wipe this plant out.”

Barnett Reservoir will remain low at 296 feet above sea level as part of the battle against salvinia.

Thursday’s action followed a meeting of the task form that included state wildlife biologists and Mississippi State University. No new outbreaks of salvinia have been discovered, and the plant continues to be contained to the area of the north shore of Pelahatchie Bay where it was first discovered last summer.

“With the low lake level, we are reminding boaters to be extra vigilant while on the lake,” Sigman said. “And, please, remember that no matter where you boat on Barnett Reservoir or any water, practice clean, drain and dry.

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