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Morganza Opening Postponed Until Sunday

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Travis Lux
/
WWNO
The Morganza Flood Control Structure, above, was set to be opened Thursday, June 6th, but officials say a changing river forecast shows the trigger for operation won't be reached until a few days later.

The Army Corps of Engineers has delayed the opening of the Morganza Flood Control Structure for a second time.

The Corps was originally set to begin opening the structure on Sunday, June 2nd, but later postponed until Thursday, June 6th. Now the Corps is aiming for Sunday, June 9th.

Officials say changing river forecasts are responsible for both delays. The river is not expected to reach the trigger point for operation until a few days later.

Like the Bonnet Carre Spillway downstream, the Morganza Floodway, located upriver from Baton Rouge, helps relieve pressure on Mississippi River levees when the water gets high. Whereas Bonnet Carre diverts water from the river into Lake Pontchartrain, Morganza shunts water through a designated floodway that eventually drains into the Atchafalaya Basin.

In a statement, the Corps said it "only intends to operate the structure when dedded as to not put additional water into the Atchafalaya Basin." Opening Morganza will cause the water to rise several feet in the Basin, distrupting wild crawfish harvesting. It will also destroy about 25,000 acres of crops planted in the designated floodway.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.

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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