The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District says that they will begin closing the Bonnet Carre Spillway today, March 26.
The Army Corps says the decision to close the bays was made based on the reduced flows of the Mississippi River at Red River Landing.
206 bays were opened over a 26-day period beginning on February 27. The Army Corps says that 213,000 cubic feet per second of water were diverted through the spillway. The spillway was designed to ensure that a maximum river flow of 1.25 million cubic feet per second passes through the Mississippi River and Tributaries system at New Orleans, according to the Army Corps.
Officials say that even with the structure’s closing, the Mississippi River remains elevated in the New Orleans District’s area. Army Corps personnel are expected to continue flood fight inspections at local levee districts. Levee and excavation restrictions remain in effect.
2019 was only the 13th time that the Bonnet Carre Spillway has been opened.
The Bonnet Carré Spillway is located 28 miles above New Orleans in Norco, Louisiana. The Spillway can divert a portion of the Mississippi River’s floodwaters to Lake Pontchartrain and into the Gulf of Mexico. This diversion allows high water to bypass New Orleans and other nearby river communities, according to the Army Corps.
The structure has a design capacity of 250,000 cfs, the equivalent of roughly 1,870,000 gallons per second.