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Corps To Open Bonnet Carré Spillway Thursday Morning

Travis Lux
Col. Mike Clancy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — New Orleans District, said the Bonnet Carré Spillway will be opened on Thursday, March 8.";s

The Army Corps of Engineers will open the Bonnet Carré Spillway on Thursday to prevent river flooding near New Orleans.


The Mississippi River is rising, as floodwater from the Midwest makes its way south.


The Bonnet Carré Spillway is basically a giant release valve for the Mississippi. It keeps New Orleans from flooding by diverting water from the river into Lake Pontchartrain. It was last opened in January 2016. Army Corps Col. Mike Clancy says the Corps usually opens it when the river reaches 17 feet at the Carrollton gauge in New Orleans.

“Any higher than that,” Clancy said, “it’s just a tremendous amount of pressure on the levees. They’re just not designed to take much more water than that.”


The Corps expects to keep the spillway open for about three weeks. They do not, however, expect to open the Morganza Spillway, which is north of Baton Rouge.


The Corps has also activated Phase II of their “flood fight” procedures. They’ll inspect the levees daily, looking for leaks and other problems.


The Corps will open the Spillway at 10 a.m. Thursday, and residents are welcome to watch from the levee.


Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Foundation for Louisiana, 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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