Corps to open Bonnet Carré Spillway on Wednesday

Published 3:06 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

NORCO — Increasing water levels as a result of heavy rain in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys are prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open the Bonnet Carré Spillway to ensure safe passage of the Mississippi river through greater New Orleans.

Operation of the structure will relieve pressure on main line levees, maintain river stages, and regulate the flow downriver from the spillway.

The decision to open Bonnet Carré was issued by Maj. Gen. Richard G. Kaiser commander of the Corps’ Mississippi Valley Division in Vicksburg, Miss.

Opening procedures will commence Wednesday, when the river is expected to reach the operational trigger of 1.25 million cubic feet per second.

The general public is allowed to view the spillway opening from the Project Office, located at 16302 River Road in Norco.

Drones and other unmanned aerial systems are not permitted for flight during the opening.

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. 61 will be closed beginning Wednesday until further notice.