Coast oystermen expect the worst from Bonnet Carre release
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to begin closing the Bonnet Carré Spillway the second or third week in July, ending a record opening for the flood-control structure that pours Mississippi River water into Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi Sound.
Plans are based on National Weather Service forecasts and could change.
“There is still a tremendous amount of water in the river so the closing will not be a fast operation and Mississippi River waters will not exceed 1,250,000 cubic feet per second past the Carrollton Gage,” said an email from Corps spokesman Matt Roe.
The spillway has been open this year for a record total of 90 days, pushing trillions of gallons of Mississippi River water into Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi Sound.
The previous record for a spillway opening was 75 days in 1973, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District, which operates the Bonnet Carré.
The spillway opening is being blamed for high mortality rates of dolphins, oysters and other aquatic life, plus algae blooms plaguing the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts.