News Briefs

Reservoir Water Level Up

The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRVWSD) board voted last week to bring the Barnett Reservoir level to 297.5 feet for the first time since the outbreak of giant salvinia hit Pelahatchie Bay last year. More areas of the bay are also reopening.

The recommendation to begin refilling Barnett Reservoir to normal operating levels came from the PRVWSD salvinia task force.

When giant salvinia was first discovered in the reservoir in October 2018, the board enacted a four-pronged plan of action to eradicate the invasive plant.  On October 17, the board approved two modifications to that plan: returning the water level to 297.5 feet and reopening more areas of Pelahatchie Bay to boaters. Boating between the main lake and the bay will remain closed under the Northshore Causeway bridge and tournament fishing of any kind is still banned in Pelahatchie Bay.

Last week’s heavy rain brought the water level up to 296.97 by noon on Thursday.

Experts have not located any live giant salvinia while the lake water has been low. The task force recently determined the best course of action is to “assess the plant for an undetermined period to see if it reappears.”

“The task group felt we could now also expand the areas open to boating, too, but the main areas along the north shoreline where Salvinia had the most impact will remain closed,” Reservoir General Manager John Sigman said in a PRVWSD statement. Barriers will remain in place for the time being.

“We know that the low lake level and the bridge closure have been a burden for our shoreline residents in the Bay and other areas, as well as boaters on the entire lake,” Sigman said. “We appreciate the patience and support we have received from our leaseholders and users. I can assure you that denying access and use of our beautiful lake is something the board would not do unless it was deemed necessary for the future well-being of Barnett Reservoir.”

More areas will reopen to boaters at Pelahatchie Bay as soon as the remaining restricted areas are marked with buoys and signs and maps are in place at the boat ramps.


More Street Pavings Coming

Three more Northside streets are on tap to be repaved, just weeks after Hinds County crews wrapped up work on Sheffield Drive and Sheffield Court. Up next, the county plans to repave Berlin Drive, Athens Drive and Southerland Drive, all in Northeast Jackson. “We’re going to pave until the money runs out,” said District One Supervisor Robert Graham.

Plans are to overlay as many streets in the capital city as possible, using funds from a 2017 bond. The upcoming projects, along with three others in Northwest Jackson, are expected to cost around $286,000, Graham said. He hopes to begin the work in the coming weeks but said weather would play a factor on when it would start.

“It’s about the time of year where the weather plays into what we can do,” he said. “We could have road milled, but if it rains three or four days, it will knock us out for about a week.”

Roads are chosen based on their overall conditions, whether they need to be milled, and whether they serve schools.  “We want to choose roads that serve schools. We’ve paved roads around three or four schools so far.”

The Sheffield projects, for instance, directly impacted Jackson Academy. The school is located at the corner of Sheffield and Ridgewood Road, and is home to more than 1,000 students.

Milling includes removing the street’s current top layer of asphalt, so a new layer can be poured.

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