On Tuesday, the Mississippi River reached 14 feet. The NWS said the river is expected to reach flood stage, 17 feet, by Tuesday.
An opening of the spillway could come as early as Saturday, according to Colonel Rick Hansen of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Hansen said the first bays of the weir that holds back river water at the spillway could be opened Saturday, and all 350 bays would be opened, as the river increases in flow over the next few weeks. Hansen said the extensive flooding and damages occurring upriver, is a cause for concern and “The safety of the public is the key factor in our decision process.”
Back in December, the Army Corps activated phase one of their flood fight procedures, which means levees are inspected twice a week to monitor potential problems. Officials said daily inspections and all construction work within 1,500 feet of a levee will stop when the river reaches 15 feet.
Sportsmen across the area have concerns aout the influx of fresh water in Lake Ponchatrain. It is believed that a long term opening would drop salinity levels in the lake. Long time sportsman Don Dubuc says “There will be some effects, depending on how long it stays open.” As the fresh water is introduced, saltwater fish will move east towards the Rigolets and Lake Borgne where the water will be saltier.
The line where fresh water meets salt water will be good fishing. The area will hold both types of fish. Saltwater is heavier than freshwater. This water will look muddy on top but below, there will be freshwater where fishing could be good, says Don.
A historical track of the Bonnet Carre Spillway
|Year||Days open||Bays opened||% open||Ideal Flow Capacity|
|1937||48||285||81.4%||203,571 cu ft./sec.|
|1945||57||350||100%||250,000 cu ft./sec.|
|1950||38||350||100%||250,000 cu ft./sec.|
|1973||75||350||100%||250,000 cu ft./sec.|
|1975||13||225||64.3%||160,714 cu ft./sec.|
|1979||45||350||100%||250,000 cu ft./sec.|
|1983||35||350||100%||250,000 cu ft./sec.|
|1997||31||298||85.1%||212,857 cu ft./sec.|
|2008||31||160||45.7%||114,286 cu ft./sec.|
|2011||42||330||94.3||235,714 cu ft./sec.|