US Army Corps begins closing Bonnet Carre Spillway
NEW ORLEANS - More than two months after it was opened to help relieve the swollen Mississippi River, the Bonnet Carre Spillway is finally being closed off again.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday that it began the process of closing the spillway that morning. Ten of the 168 open bays have been closed so far, with the rest being shut off throughout the next week if weather permits.
The corps says because the river has receded below the maximum flow at Red River Landing, the diversion of water into Lake Pontchartrain is no longer needed to safely pass the river flow through the New Orleans area.
Monday marks day 74 that the spillway has been open. This year was the first time in which the structure had to be opened twice in the same year.
The extended opening of the spillway has been blamed in part for potential health risks in the water, including a toxic algal bloom along the gulf coast.