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Long Beach Watershed Detention/Retention Project – Frequently Asked Questions.


What is the purpose of this project? 

This project’s purpose is to develop alternatives to incorporate detention/retention ponds (pocket ponds) into the Long Beach watershed’s drainage/flood control infrastructure.  Previous flood control and drainage studies have identified the need for additional drainage improvements in eight (8) sub-basins that feed into the two (2) existing two canals in Long Beach, Mississippi. The flooding of Turkey Creek is also being studied for this project. The project’s goal is to increase the resiliency of the existing drainage systems to weather events, which cause flooding or increase storm water flow. This project will supplement the current PL-566 program.


What is PL-566?

The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (Public Law 566) gives authorization to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to support local organizations or governments in order to plan and successfully implement watershed projects. The goals of PL-566 projects are to solve natural and human resource problems relating to existing watershed conditions.


What organizations and governments are involved with this project?

The City of Long Beach, the Long Beach Water Management District, and the Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation District are working together with the NRCS on this project.


What are retention/detention ponds and how do they help with flood control?

Both of these structures are man-made ponds used to hold excess water during times of high flow. Retention or wet ponds hold a constant amount of water during dry times, while the water in detention or dry ponds evaporate completely during dry times. These ponds hold a large amount of water and take pressure off the drainage systems, which would otherwise not be able to handle the volume of storm water and overflow. This overflow may lead to structure failures in traditional concrete systems and would be costly to repair or replace.


How would these help with Long Beach’s flood problems, specifically?

Retention and detention ponds would take pressure off of the existing drainage infrastructures during severe storms. Two main canals (Canal No. 1 and No. 2/3) run east/west through the city of Long Beach. These ponds would increase the resiliency of these canals, which can be costly and inconvenient to repair. Additionally, these ponds may provide secondary recreational benefits. Eight sub-basins or neighborhoods are being considered for potential pond locations. Your questions and comments are important in the decision-making process. 


Where are the eight sub-basins located and why have these eight been selected? – The attached map has the eight sub-basins highlighted in yellow for your review. Each sub-basin drains into one of the two canals. These locations have been selected based on historic flooding data, position relative to canals, area availability for potential pond locations, and other considerations. The size, location, and number of retention/detention ponds is yet to be determined. Your comments and suggestions are welcome and important in the decision-making process.


How will these ponds be integrated with the city’s existing infrastructure? – Once the number, size, and locations of the ponds are determined, the existing watershed infrastructures will be modified and portions redesigned to incorporate these ponds. 


What other benefits could these ponds provide? – Retention/detention ponds have secondary benefits in times of low/no rain. Due to a constant presence of some water, retention ponds can enhance aesthetics via hydrophilic plant species planted around the pond. This would also provide shelter and food to insect, song bird, and waterfowl species. They can provide living class rooms for environmental educational and benefit agriculture by providing habitat for pollinators (bees and butterflies). Because detention ponds completely dry up during times of no rain, the land underneath could be used for recreation such as walking trails, outdoor sport fields, or parks.


What about the Turkey Creek flooding issue?

During severe floods, Turkey Creek can flow into the Long Beach watershed and the two canals. Therefore, the flooding of Turkey Creek greatly affects the function of the storm water drainage systems. Due to this, the project is evaluating detention/retention of Turkey Creek flooding.


Where is the money to fund this project coming from?

The City of Long Beach is the project sponsor. However, the Supplemental Watershed Management Plan and EIS as well as design work is being funded 100% by NRCS.  This project is being coordinated with the Long Beach Water Management District to avoid any negative impacts to Canal No. 1 and No. 2/3.


How long until this project begins?

The Supplemental Plan and EIS should be competed and approved in mid to late 2022.  Project design is planned to begin in early 2023. 


What are the next steps for this project?

The next steps for this project is to determine the location, sizes, and type of ponds. Currently, the preparation of an additional Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is about to begin.


I have a drainage problem that needs to be addressed. Who can I contact?

Andy Phelan of the Pickering Firm, Inc. can be reached via the contact information on this handout.


Who can I contact to recommend a site or secondary use for a pond?

Cindy Lamb of the Pickering Firm, Inc. can be reached via the contact information on this handout and on the contact page of this website.


How can I receive updates on the status of this project? 

Please provide your name and e-mail if you would like periodic project updates.  The draft Supplemental Watershed Plan and EIS will be available for review and comment when they are complete and before they are submitted for final approval by NRCS.

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