The Pearl River and Why It Matters to Louisiana

Thanks to the rich biodiversity of its wildlife and habitats, Louisiana’s Pearl River and its surrounding communities have long been a high priority for conservation planning—and this area’s protection remains an ongoing process to preserve it for its ecology, its habitats, and the many Louisianans who appreciate its incredible wildlife and nature areas. 

Native Uses

The river’s history reveals an early presence of native American Choctaws and Acolapissases. These groups reaped the benefits of the Pearl and its main tributaries for hunting, fishing and traveling. European settlers would later also rely on these waterways for transporting timber for sale. 

Manmade Changes to the Pearl River

As settlements grew and the river use expanded, the Pearl River in Louisiana has gone through its share of “improvements” (including projects in 1880, 1910, 1935 and the 1950s). Many were dismantled later because they were proven to be dangerous to the natural habitat. These “improvements” included:

  • Dams
  • Canals
  • Levees
  • Water control structures

Each of these were abandoned or dismantled due to their negative effects on the wetlands and the general ecology, particularly watersheds and wildlife.

Recent Pearl River Flooding

The Pearl River and its surrounding communities have also survived the ravages of hurricanes and flooding. These effects were felt notably after Katrina in 2005, which affected vegetation, animals, birds, fish, and floodplain forests. Records of flooding concur with events upriver in Mississippi in 1979, 1983, and as recently as February 2020.

Flood Mitigation Proposals

While nature will take its course, a growing concern among residents, city leaders, and environmental and conservationist groups at the present is a manmade concern: an upriver flood control project proposal in Jackson, Mississippi. The One Lake Project, proposed by the Rankin-Hinds County Pearl River Flood Control and Drainage District in Mississippi, promotes the building of a dam near the Ross Barnett Reservoir to ease flooding conditions in the Jackson metro area. 

Louisiana Opposition to the One Lake Project

Locals believe the plan could impact ecological balances of the river, swamps, and oyster reefs along the coast. They claim that the project will upset the movement of water, harming river habitats and damaging hardwood forests, along with other concerns. Among those joining the opposition are city officials in Slidell, Pearl River, and others along the Louisiana-Mississippi border, as well as the Louisiana Legislature and parish councils in St. Tammany and Washington parishes. 

The people in the Pearl River Basin in Louisiana have long enjoyed their close-knit link to its land and water and the recreational activity it has provided for hunting, fishing, boating and more. 

Visit the Pearl River in Louisiana

Find out more about recreational and conservationist activities in this heritage-rich slice of Louisiana.

Louisiana is a multi-faceted state with rich cultural ties that are so tight you can feel it when you visit. Even if you are a Louisiana resident, take some time to explore other areas you may not have visited yet.

Louisiana-Based Insurance for Louisianans

Farm Bureau Insurance protects Louisianans from the effects of our predictably unpredictable climate. Our company is locally based across the state, with agents and adjusters that live in your community. They’re knowledgeable about what dangers may affect your life and property, including river flooding. If you would like a quote for one of our affordable, high quality policies for flood, home, auto, and life, find an agent in a parish near you.