It may not come as a surprise to anyone that I'm a little bit of a fan of the Pearl River, but sometimes there's too much river to love.
It's only good as a River, though, not as a Lake. I'm no fan of the Old Racist Reservoir.
And it's no good when it comes up in your house, or business, or truck. I like the interface of the city and the river, but not so much when one falls into the other.
So in memory of high waters past and high waters to come, here's some pictures of really high waters from back in April!
The spot you're looking at there is one of the places that the Pearl overtopped the old levees during the 1979 "Easter" Flood (Merry Easter, kids) - and now we've got a super-modern plan involving... a pile of dirt and what's that? Hoses?
They better not be leaky and rickety. We're not trying to film a Steampunk Waterworld movie. (Though if you're interested, I have a screenplay based on some previous works.)
So, yeah, there's that. Fortunately, plenty of people want to get the whole situation fixed up - simple and cheap - by building better levees, adding in some flood control structures at Town Creek and Purple Creek, reworking the Belhaven and Eubanks creeks, and there you go - we'd be set up to protect the environment, the city, and the pocketbook.
You'd have to be a madman to oppose such a scheme.
ENTER THE MADMEN.
So it comes as no surprise, to those who have taken to heart our message, that many madmen would line themselves up in opposition. Or at least a few.
An oilman and a real estate developer plan on trying to dam the river creating a lake or two bordering Jackson, and no sir not just because that would turn the worthless swamp they've bought up into prime real estate. No sir.
You may remember this as the plot to the Superman movie, except Lex Luthor was never so evil as to go into the oil business.
So imagine, if you will, all that garbage I photograph, washing up on the shores of a lake daily. That's good beach, there. Probably not at all filled with pollution, either. No sir.
Back in the days of yore, when the town called Jerome stood on the site of the Racist Reservoir, steamboats could ply their trade and wares on the Pearl, flatbottom boats would ferry passenger and cargo to the Gulf of Mexico, and when the high water came as it would in the spring, the people of Jackson would throw down makeshift piers and let them dock in what is now the fairgrounds. The natural bluff that overlooks this area is an impediment to floods, but with the needed levees in place, the creeks that flow into the River can back up into the City, and bring the River with them. And all the stuff that people throw in the River, too.
The current Reservoir has depleted the flow of the Pearl, first by slowing the river - this causes the river to drop more silt, raising the bed, and also by evaporation. It's not obvious, but when a river is put into a large lake, there is much more surface for evaporation to occur - and evaporation happens, removing water from the River. The depleted flow downstream is a blow to fish, especially slow-moving low-spawning, long-lived prehistoric monsters like the sturgeon, which used to inhabit the Pearl in great numbers.
So another lake? We might get ourselves into a situation like the Colorado River, which doesn't even flow to the ocean.
And for what? More 18 million dollar ghost towns like Lost Rabbit? Why build more houses and parks and shops for the rich and the wealthy when we're not making any more rich people?
Readers of my blog may be on to the fact that people do not take care of what we've got. A lot of the time, we just throw it in the River. Everything from cars to old railroads to cement pipes and piles of tires - all of it goes into the River.
So now we want to get to making new stuff just to make a few rich pricks richer, and the rest of us - well, we can just go right into the River too.
Hell, I'll see you when you get here.