Last week, the Waveland Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved several resolutions in support of legislation recommended by the Mississippi Sound Coalition as it relates to the future openings of the Bonnet Carre` Spillway.
Last month, the city joined Harrison County, the city of Biloxi, the city of D'Iberville, Mississippi Hotel and Lodging Association, and Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, Inc. in filing a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi River Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The lawsuit – among other requests – would request that the Corps complete a "formal consultation process with the plaintiffs prior to any additional opening of the spillway."
Last spring and summer, the opening of the Bonnet Carre` Spillway wreaked "havoc on the natural resources, communities, and business on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," and "financial impacts to fisheries alone as over $160 million," the complaint states.
The first resolution Waveland adopted last Wednesday was requesting the Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources and DMR to designate the Western Sound as a Special Management Area under the Mississippi Coastal Program and the Coastal Zone Management Act.
The second resolution is requesting the Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources and DMR to conduct a study to establish the Lower Pearl River Freshwater Project to restore the natural flow of water from the Pearl River to the Mississippi Sound.
The third resolution is requesting that Mississippi's congressional delegation adopt Senate Bill 2346 (Fisheries Fund Act), House Bill 5548 (Fishery Fund Act), and Senate Bill 2209.
The final resolution is requesting that Mississippi's congressional delegation adopt the Mississippi Sound and Lake Pontchartrain Protection Act of 2020. A copy of this may be viewed at www.seacoastecho.com.
Waveland city attorney Malcolm Jones said that in addition to the lawsuit, the Mississippi Sound Coalition is also working on the legislative side of things.
"We have this legislation we're trying to push through both the federal government and also through the DMR to try to go ahead and make it more difficult for them to just open the Bonnet Carre` and other spillways to send water our way," Jones said. "It's trying to get the Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission to acknowledge that it's causing a problem for us. We know they have a big problem they have to deal with which is to protect life from flooding. But, at the same time, they have to realize there are impacts that are serious down here too."
In other action:
The board recognized Waveland Fire Department's Assistant Fire Chief Tommy Carver as December's Employee of the Month.
The board approved a motion to apply for a sidewalk grant, which the city would use to install a sidewalk from Herlihy Street, down St. Joseph Street to Old Spanish Trail and from St. Joseph Street to Margie Street. In addition to the Waveland Avenue sidewalk project, the city plans to solicit bids for a bike lane and pedestrian lane on Nicholson Avenue.
The board received bids for the ADA access to the beach project, which were taken under advisement.
The board approved an amendment to the city's current civic lease. The current lease reads, "A use fee of $250 for the use of the Waveland Civic Center is to be paid in advance of the use." The addition the board approved is "A reduced use fee of $100 may be granted for smaller events that last no more than four hours, including setup and cleanup of the event. This reduced use will be at the discretion of the city administration." The board also approved a lease agreement for the new community center located at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Herlihy Street. This lease is the same standard lease for all city buildings, which includes the Lighthouse and Waveland Civic Center.
The board approved a motion to advertise for a citywide camera project, which will update the camera systems at city hall, the police and fire departments, city community centers, and public parks.
The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m.