The catastrophic 9-month flood that has plagued Mississippi’s South Delta, inundating more than 550,000 acres at its peak, has had many victims. Families have been driven out of their homes, and farmers have lost an entire year of crops.
But the hardest hit may be the area’s rich wildlife, and it may take a decade to realize the full impact, according to Russ Walsh, the state’s executive director of wildlife for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
Walsh indicated it was too early to tell the full impact.
“The impacts of the 2019 flooding in the South Delta will take years to fully appreciate,” he said. “The MDWFP will be working with hunters, land managers and conservation partners in the South Delta to collect data to garner a full understanding of the impacts on wildlife.
“For white-tailed deer, antler growth and body condition were negatively affected. This was particularly evident in areas where they were isolated and food resources were depleted. The concentration of deer for an extended period would have created an opportunity for CWD to spread. Testing via hunter-harvested samples will be critically important in the coming seasons to determine whether CWD did in fact spread.”
While no decisions had been reached by early August, there could be some changes in regulations for the South Delta area, much of which is within the Issaquena CWD Management Zone.