Port board to spend $6,119 to plant hardwood trees

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 19, 2004

[10/19/04]Land owned by the Warren County Port Commission will be replanted in hardwood trees, and part of it will be set aside for mitigation of wildlife losses due to a project to widen the Yazoo Diversion Canal.

In action Monday, the five-member commission that oversees the operation of the E.W. Haining Industrial Center and the Ceres Research and Industrial Interplex at Flowers awarded a contract to Eller And Sons Trees Inc. of Franklin, Ga., to replant about 186 acres near the Haining Industrial Center in hardwood trees at a cost of $32.90 per acre. The land had been logged previously.

The bid from Eller was the lowest of the four bids the commission received.

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The port commission will bear the about $6,119.40 total cost.

Following that action, the commission voted to set aside 68 acres of the tract as mitigation of wildlife losses incurred when a project to widen the Yazoo Diversion Canal is completed.

The port commission and the City of Vicksburg have been working with the Vicksburg District Corps of Engineers since 1996 to widen the canal to allow the more efficient movement of barges to and from the Mississippi River and the Haining Industrial Center.

Port Director Jimmy Heidel told the board he and Jim Pilgrim, who works with the commission and Warren County Economic Development Foundation, convinced the Corps to accept land the commission already owns instead of requiring the purchase of mitigation land.

“You will still own it,” Heidel said, explaining the only requirement is the land be replanted in specified species of hardwood trees and it be managed for hardwood production.

The federal share of the project is estimated at $3.2 million with the local sponsors, the port commission and the City of Vicksburg, paying about $765,000.

Heidel told the commission the federal share is not listed in appropriation bills in the U.S. House of Representatives, but it could be be restored by the Senate after the first of 2005.