Did opening the Bonnet Carré kill dolphins, turtles in Gulf? Mississippi, Louisiana officials disagree

Mississippi authorities are blaming the Bonnet Carré spillway for the dead dolphins and turtles washing up on their shore, though Louisiana officials are contesting those claims, and federal scientists are withholding judgment until they know more.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is increasingly reliant on opening the spillway to divert high water from the Mississippi River toward Lake Pontchartrain to prevent flooding around New Orleans. The Corps has opened the gates in three of the last four years, including a 43-day stint that concluded earlier this month.

The Corps did not respond Tuesday to requests seeking comment. Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries staff said they haven’t heard of any efforts to change how the Bonnet Carré is managed; the decision to open its bays is based on Mississippi River water levels.

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