wildlife airboat patrols flooded areas

 
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POSTED: 8:26 am CDT May 18, 2011
UPDATED: 8:51 am CDT May 18, 2011

YAZOO COUNTY, Miss. — All along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, the state has shut down roads and banned boat traffic.

But there are boats patrolling the flooded areas. WAPT’s Scott Simmons went along on an airboat ride Tuesday with agents from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. He got a look at the flood damage behind the roadblocks.

Yazoo County

Yazoo County

The area north of Yazoo City is a mixture of farmland and homes, but the rising water has made it tough, in some cases, to tell where the fields end and the homes begin.

Wildlife agents use an airboat to cross some areas, going over levees and portions of high ground, but those areas were few and far between.

Simmons found that one family’s self-made levee was doing the job. But other homes weren’t so lucky.

The MDWFP agents have been a patrolling the area to keep looters out. Agents Matt Jones and Phillip Fancher said since they began patrolling in boats, the floodwater has risen about 2 feet.

Yazoo County farmer Byron Seward’s land is somewhere under all of the floodwater. His corn, cotton and wheat crops were all destroyed, and Seward said the crop loss insurance he has on his 1,200 acres will only take away some of the sting. He said he’s losing money the longer the water lingers.

“One hundred fifty-thousand to $200,000,” he said of his projected losses.

Simmons saw grain silos that were partially submerged along with cars and trucks that were pushed off the road.

The Yazoo River is expected to rise about another foot before its predicted crest Monday at 39 feet.