The Bonnet Carre' Spillway Values

Natural Resources

The diversity and abundance of productive habitats in the floodway support a wide variety of wildlife including game species, commercially important furbearers and alligators, endangered species, and numerous nongame species that are important to the ecology.

Game mammals include the gray squirrel, fox squirrel, swamp rabbit and feral hog. Common furbearers include otter, mink, nutria, muskrat, raccoon, opossum and beaver. Common nongame mammals include nine-banded armadillo, southern flying squirrel and marsh rice rat.

The forested wetlands and shallow margins of permanent water bodies provide excellent feeding and resting areas for American coot and dabbling ducks, such as the wood duck, mallard and the mottled duck. Diving ducks, such as the lesser scaup, are most common in Lake Pontchartrain and adjacent open water areas of the floodway. Other game birds occasionally found in the floodway include the American woodcock and common snipe.

A great diversity of nongame birds seen in the spillway includes sea birds, shorebirds, wading birds, songbirds and raptors. Numerous species of reptiles and amphibians are also found in the area.

The various water bodies in the floodway support a wide range of finfish and shellfish. Sport fishing and crawfishing are popular in the fresh water and brackish water habitats.


Habitats in the floodway include bottomland hardwood forests, cypress swamps, canals and ponds, and disturbed areas. Bottomland hardwoods are located near the river and grade into cypress-tupelogum swamps closer to Lake Pontchartrain. The forested areas were logged in the past and second-growth timber covers the wooded areas.

The floodway acts as a catch basin for non-indigenous plants when flood waters are released from the Mississippi River. The introduction of seeds, rhizomes and other plant propagates permits establishment of new species and an ever-changing plant environment.

Cultural Resources

 A cultural resource inventory of project lands at Bonnet Carre' was completed in 1991. The result was the listing of one property on the National Register of Historic Places, the Kenner and Kugler Cemeteries Archeological District, located near the structure. This district consists of two African-American cemetery plots which date to the early 19th century and received interments until federal purchase of the property in 1928.

The spillway structure itself is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure is significant as an engineering landmark and for its important historical association with flood control efforts on the Lower Mississippi River. The Corps has established measures to protect these important historic sites from project operations.