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Spillway Finally Closes, Federal Bill Proposed

Gazebo Gazette

With the flood waters reducing in the Mississippi River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from the New Orleans District starting closing bays at the Bonnet Carré Spillway Monday morning.

Initially, the Corps will close nearly a dozen of the bays currently open.  The Corps will continue to assess conditions of the Mississippi River and perform closure operations based upon these conditions.

The Bonnet Carré Spillway is designed to ensure that a river flow of 1.25 million cubic feet per second is passed through Mississippi River and tributaries system at New Orleans.  Due to the river receding below the maximum flow, the diversion of water into Lake Pontchartrain is no longer needed to safely pass the river flow through the New Orleans area.

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.

Harrison County District 5 Supervisor Connie Rockco announced that the Harrison County Board of Supervisors have been working closely with U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS) assisting area fishermen who have been affected by the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. The Louisiana-based spillway has been open for almost 120 days.

Federal proposed legislation will set up revenue for commercial fishermen affected,  Money will be allocated from federal disaster supplemental appropriations funds

“The opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway has been disastrous for the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Harrison County”, Rockco said. “This bill will provide some much need relief to our fishermen.”

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.

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