Corps closing the Bonnet Carre' Spillway after record opening


After breaking records, operations are finally starting to close the spillway which has been dumping Mississippi River water into Lake Pontchartrain.

"Based on the reduced flows in the Mississippi River at Red River Landing, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District will begin closing bays at the Bonnet Carré Spillway this morning," Corps Spokesman Matt Roe announced.

He said initially, the Corps was shutting ten of the 168 bays currently open. 

"The Corps will continue to assess conditions of the Mississippi River and perform closure operations based upon these conditions."

He told WWL First News that crews hoped to have the entire spillway closed within ten days.

"Today marks the 74 day the structure has been opened during this operation and during the peak 161,000 cfs was being diverted through the flood control structure. This operation marks the first time the structure has been operated twice in one year and the first time it has been operated in back-to-back years."

Roe says Wednesday will mark the longest period of time the spillway has ever been open, at 76 consecutive days.

The extended and repeated openings of the spillway have led to algae blooms in the lake and along the Mississippi Gulf coast, beach closings, and created challenges to the fisheries in the lake and surrounding estuary.

Roe says the historic flood fight along the Mississippi is not over.

"Although water levels are receding, allowing the structure’s closure, the Mississippi River in the New Orleans District’s area of responsibility remains elevated. In the interest of public safety, the Corps will continue its flood fight operations, environmental monitoring and all subsurface construction restrictions remain in effect."

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