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Governor speaks on river flooding and the possible opening of Morganza Spillway

Posted at 3:43 PM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 15:04:35-04

Governor John Bel Edwards held a press conference addressing river flooding in Louisiana and the possibility of opening the Morganza Spillway.

This press conference comes after Gov. John Bel Edwards lead a Unified Command Group meeting earlier in the day.

Gov. Edwards says “more likely than not” the Morganza Spillway will be opening around June 2nd. But it is up to the Mississippi River Commission, not the state.

Edwards also stated that he will ask for an emergency declaration to secure federal help.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, forecast models show water elevation could overtop the Morganza control structure as early as June 5th.

If the Morganza Spillway does need to be opened, a “slow opening” would take place over three days starting on June 2nd. A final decision will be made within the next week.

This would be the third time the Morganza spillway has opened to help alleviate flooding on the Mississippi River. The last time the spillway was opened was in 2011.

For a complete breakdown of the possible opening of the Morganza Spillway, click here: A Breakdown of the Possible Morganza Spillway Opening

Wednesday the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they were considering opening the Morganza Spillway, a result of an abnormally high water season (both in terms of duration and volume of water).

The Department of Agriculture and Forestry released a statement in preparation for that possible opening.

Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., urged livestock and farm equipment owners who are near or have the potential to be affected by the flooding from the Morganza Spillway to prepare to move both to higher ground as a result of river flooding.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is anticipating opening the spillway in early June to alleviate flooding but will also inundate farm areas where crops and livestock are located.

“Farmers and ranchers need to prepare now to move livestock, feeding capability and equipment to higher ground. It is always important to have a game plan for times such as this,” said Strain.

The LDAF is preparing to assist with search and rescue operations to deal with animal issues, and people with household pets should be prepared to evacuate with their pets.  Please remember to have supplies and vaccination records with you, if possible.

Livestock owners who need assistance should call their local Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP).

Crop damage as a result of the opening of the spillway should be reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). Assessments will be conducted by the LSU AgCenter.

For more information on emergency preparation for livestock, go to or