October 23, 2020

Corps says closure of spillway dumping harmful river water into Gulf may still be weeks away

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it expects the Mississippi River to drop enough in a few weeks to begin closing the Bonnet Carre Spillway, just west of New Orleans.

The Corps reported on Twitter that the closure would begin when the Carrollton river gauge drops to 15.5 feet. The gauge was at 15.93 feet Thursday morning.

The current river forecast predicts the river will fall to that level at the Carrollton gauge on or around July 20.

The spillway was opened for the second time this year on May 10. The spillway was opened earlier from February 27 through April 11.

The Corps reports the spillway has been dumping more than 100,000 cubic feet per second of river water since May 13 into the floodway, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne.

That inundation of water has been blamed for all sorts of problems along the Mississippi Gulf Coast including the recent closure of beaches due to toxic algae growth, significant impact on the seafood industry and Gulf wildlife.