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Now is time to speak up about river

Speak now or forever hold your river gripes, complaints, praises and dreams.

Any of those — from criticisms to wild-haired ideas — about the Mississippi River are welcome this morning. Today is your opportunity to get the matter off your chest.

At 9 a.m. today, on board the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat “MV Mississippi,” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission will conduct its annual high-water inspection trip.

The purpose is simple: Give the public an opportunity to share their comments to the folks in charge of keeping the river channel open for travel and commerce.

While Natchez sits high above the river and mostly far removed from flood dangers, our friends and neighbors across the river aren’t so lucky.

They live in the shadow of the giant levee system maintained in part by the Corps. So all river matters are important to them; lives and property are at stake.

Natchez’s history of the riverfront is also of massive interest. The Corps helped replace 11 of the 22 acres of Natchez’s riverfront years ago.

That work has allowed Roth Hill to be opened up again. The result is the City of Natchez now earns $1 million in annual lease payments from Magnolia Bluffs Casino.

Mayor Butch Brown has said he hopes to ask the group today to help with some repair work on those areas.

At some point, we hope, the Corps can commit to helping Natchez replace the remainder of the land that was lost to the river after the Giles cut. An additional 11 acres of land along the river’s edge would certainly be valuable. Of course that may not be possible.

Some financial assistance creating a levee in the south part of the county would be helpful, too. Perhaps they could repay us for the extra 11 acres that were gone in a small strip that covers most of the industrial land just south of the Natchez-Adams County Port. Asking doesn’t hurt, does it?

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