Corps to open Bonnet Carré Spillway
NEW ORLEANS – Heavy rain in the Mississippi Valley and rising Mississippi River water stages and flow are prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open the Bonnet Carré Spillway Sunday, Jan. 10, to keep the volume of Mississippi River flows at New Orleans from exceeding 1.25 million cubic feet per second (cfs). Opening procedures will begin at approximately 10 a.m.
Media and the general public are allowed to view the spillway opening from the Project Office, located at 16302 River Road in Norco, Louisiana. Please note drones, and other unmanned aerial systems, are not permitted for flight during the opening.
The spillway may be open for several weeks. Operation of the structure will relieve pressure on main line levees, maintain river stages, and regulate the flow of the river from the spillway southward. The decision to open Bonnet Carré is the responsibility of Maj. Gen. Michael C. Wehr, commander of the Corps' Mississippi Valley Division in Vicksburg, Miss.
Environmental, hydrologic, structural, and navigational considerations all bear on the decision to open Bonnet Carré. Other factors that affect the decision are the overall condition of the levees and the ability of the river to pass flows, and the effects high water and river currents may have on vessels navigating the river.
The Corps has a detailed environmental monitoring plan in place that will assess water quality, dissolved oxygen, sedimentation, recreation, and natural resources such as the pallid sturgeon, both within the spillway as well as Lake Pontchartrain.
All third party users and grantees should take immediate steps to remove their movable property and protect existing facilities and immovable property within the spillway. In addition, all public access areas within the spillway, including the public boat launches, Lower Guide Levee Road, and the St. Charles Parish Recreation Area near U.S. Highway 61 will be closed beginning on Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 until further notice.