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More opposition to proposed reservoir

Dear Editor (as written to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers):

This comment letter is in regard to the Application of the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission, Bogalusa, concerning the above project (proposed reservoir in Washington Parish). It was surprising and disheartening to receive the notice concerning this permit once again. The local public opinion was not in favor of the project previously 40 years ago nor more recently. Please note my assessment below from being a resident at the location bordering the dam site since returning from WWII in the late 1940s.

• Potable and non-potable water – this cannot possibly be of urgency since we have numerous fresh water rivers, creeks, streams running throughout the parish and region — such as Bogue Chitto River, Pearl River, Bogue Lusa Creek, Pushpatap Creek in Varnado, to name a few of the main tributaries. Expand to 30 miles, and you have continuous rivers, streams and lakes in surrounding parishes.

• Recharge underlying aquifers – again there are numerous water supplies readily available within a 20-mile radius of Bogalusa. Even during the years of greater use by the milling industry, the creek was not impacted adversely. (Personally, the creek runs through my property, and I maintained cattle with the water supply throughout the years. Where are any problems to be addressed?)

• Provide recreation areas and economic development – Washington Parish already has the Pearl River Canal (Boondoggle) from years ago. In Bogalusa, Cassidy Park is located on the creek, and various water recreation or fishing opportunities are available on the rivers. Also, the new state park located outside Franklinton offers recreation and camping — but had to be delayed in opening due to budget problems. Why is something of this magnitude needed at this time, considering what is already available in the parish — not to mention in this part of the state within 30 miles around Slidell and Mandeville areas with even more rivers and lakes.

• Provide storage of flood waters/use during droughts – during my past 60+ years in the area (living on the Bogue Lusa Creek), flooding has not been of any magnitude (nor have droughts) to warrant this type of project. As stated earlier, we are blessed with abundant water supplies, which have supported farming, ranching, even industry without causing strains.

As a property owner and lifelong resident (currently 100 years old), I have brought these issues up in the past. Our current situation needs this project even less than we did originally back in the 1960s. It would be much more advantageous to the area to connect to highways with projects that have not been completed, such as Highway 21 South to I-12 and the Zachary Taylor Parkway. This would open up the availability of recreation that is already here and give residents more options for employment opportunities or business developments with highway access to nearby major roadways.

The people affected by this have spoken against it around the parish. As far as statewide, there seem to be many more projects that could utilize funding before this reservoir is remotely needed.

– Respectfully submitted,

Hubert H. Mizell

Sheila Mizell Anthaume

Landowners, Louisiana Highway 439, Bogalusa