High water to force opening of Bonnet Carré Spillway again

Army Corps of Engineer’s New Orleans District Commander Col. Stephen Murphy announced today that he has made the recommendation to operate the Bonnet Carré Spillway.

The Murphy’s recommendation to operate the flood control structure has now been sent to the commanding general of the Corps Mississippi Valley Division, Maj. Gen. Mark Toy. Toy also serves as the president of the Mississippi River Commission and the recommendation of the commanding general is required to operate the flood control structure.

The opening could occur as early as Friday. Murphy mentioned that the Corps expects to open between five to 10 bays on the first day of operation. The trigger point flow of 1.25 million cu. ft. per second is expected by next week and the spillway structure’s operation would divert approximately 120,000 to 130,000 cu. ft. per second through the structure and into Lake Pontchartrain.

Forecasts predict the river stage to crest at 17.5′ and typically the operation of the Bonnet Carré Spillway would manage that stage level at approximately 17′.

The meetings and opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway will not be opened to the public for the first time in history due to the quarantine and social-distancing requirements for the coronavirus pandemic.

The spillway was opened twice last year.

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