Morganza Spillway likely to open in June
MORGANZA – As the Army Corps quietly eyes the likelihood of the Morganza Spillway opening, local leaders on the west side of the Mississippi River said Wednesday night, they are moving forward with plans that such an opening is imminent.
In a press conference at the Capitol Thursday, Governor Edwards confirmed the corps is preparing to potentially open the flood-prevention structure in the coming weeks and keep it open into July. WBRZ was first to report Wednesday night the Corps was eyeing June 2 as a target date to open the Morganza – the third time in its history.
In Assumption Parish, leaders there told WBRZ late Wednesday, the focus now is on securing a barge to block Bayou Chene from flooding with backwater, inundating Assumption, parts of St. Mary and St. Martin parishes.
Once a barge is found, it could take two weeks to set the system up – the estimated time for when the Morganza will be opened, sources told WBRZ Wednesday.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is worried about high water threatening to overtop the structure based on the rainfall outlook for the rest of the month.
A Corps official described it to potentially be a slow opening of no more than a foot of water for a few days at a time to give livestock and camp owners ample time to prepare.
It will take time to prepare the barge system, too. A barge was deployed in Bayou Chene in 2011 – the last time the Morganza was opened.
The state is planning an $80 million floodgate project to permanently replace the need for a barge in Bayou Chene just south of Amelia and Highway 90. The project is not expected to be completed until 2022.
The governor said Thursday the state will also seek federal assistance for residents impacted by high water.