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Corps Checks Levees Daily As River Rises

Tegan Wendland
The Mississippi River rose high along the Algiers levee last week

The Mississippi River remains high as floodwater makes its way south from the Midwest, and the Army Corps of Engineers is inspecting the levees daily for problems like leaks.


The Corps started inspecting the river about two weeks ago, as the water began to rise.

Employees drive or walk along the levees twice a week between Baton Rouge and Venice. That’s something they do automatically when the river reaches 11 feet at the Carrollton gauge in New Orleans -- 11 feet above sea level. The Corps calls it “Phase One flood fight” mode.


Now it’s time for Phase 2 -- activated when the river reaches 15 feet. Inspectors will be out every day patrolling for problems until the river drops back below 15 feet. According to the current forecast, that won’t happen for another two weeks.


The National Weather Service expects the river to crest on June 2nd, but the Corps says it does not expect to open the Bonnet Carré spillway, which would let extra water flow into Lake Pontchartrain.


Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Coypu Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and local listeners.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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