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SPILLWAY TO OPEN TOMORROW (FRIDAY 4-11-08)

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Corps to open Bonnet Carre Spillway

VICKSBURG, Miss. – Heavy rain in the Mississippi Valley is prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open the Bonnet Carré Spillway on Friday, April 11, 2008, for the first time in 11 years.

The Corps will open the spillway to keep the volume of Mississippi River flows at New Orleans from exceeding 1.25 million cubic feet per second (cfs), which current projections indicate will occur on April 11, 2008. The spillway may be open for an estimated two to four week period, during which time the Mississippi is expected to crest at about 17 feet at New Orleans, without operation of the spillway. Operation of the structure will relieve pressure on local levees, lower river stages, and reduce the velocity of the river current from the spillway southward.

The decision to open Bonnet Carré is the responsibility of Mississippi River Commission President Brig. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, commander of the Corps' Mississippi Valley Division in Vicksburg, Miss.

Environmental, hydrologic, structural, navigational and legal considerations all bear on the decision to open Bonnet Carré. Essentially, the spillway is only operated when existing conditions, combined with predicted discharges, reach the operational level as prescribed in the approved Bonnet Carré Spillway Operations Manual and the Mississippi Valley Division Operations Plan 2007-02 for Floods.

Other factors that affect the decision are the overall condition of the levees and the ability of the river to pass flows, and the effects high water and river currents may have on vessels navigating the river, including the risk of vessels losing control and colliding with levees.

Bonnet Carré, located 28 miles above New Orleans, is a vital element of the multi-state Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) system, which uses a variety of features to provide flood protection to the alluvial Mississippi Valley from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to Head of Passes. MR&T features include levees and floodwalls to contain flood flows, floodways (such as Bonnet Carré) to redirect high flows out of the Mississippi River, reservoirs and pumping plants for flood control drainage, and channel improvement and stabilization features to protect the levees and improve navigation of the river.

Bonnet Carré is the southernmost floodway in the MR&T system. Located on the east bank in St. Charles Parish, it can divert a portion of the river's floodwaters via Lake Pontchartrain into the Gulf of Mexico, thus allowing high water to bypass New Orleans and other nearby river communities. The structure has a design capacity of 250,000 cfs, the equivalent of roughly 1,870,000 gallons per second.

The Bonnet Carré structure consists of a control structure and a floodway. The control structure is a concrete weir that parallels the river for a mile and a half. It consists of 350 gated bays, each holding 20 timber "needles," for a total of 7,000 needles. When needles are removed, river water flows into the floodway and is conveyed nearly six miles between guide levees to the lake. Operation of the structure is relatively simple. Two cranes, moving on tracks atop the structure, lift timbers from their vertical position in the weir and set them aside. A complete opening of all 350 bays is not planned at this time.

Bonnet Carré was first opened during the flood of 1937; since then it has operated seven other times, during high water in 1945, 1950, 1973, 1975, 1979, 1983, and 1997. The flood of 1997 was the last time the spillway was operated.
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Dangitt you beat me to it.I just heard from my friend at the corps two min. ago.
Bet the catfishin at manchac will be dynamite this weekend!
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   ruger109
Let it roar!!!!!!!!!!!!
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   Butch
Who really knows? Maybe it will get better and the fish will get bigger. Maybe that 12 lb trout is closer than you think to being caught.
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Lake P will be a TROPHY LAKE!
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I guess I'll put up the fishing gear and take out the crab traps and crawfish nets!!
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   Robbie J
I believe that this will be a good thing. I think the opeing will be a short term, issue, just like Venice right now. A good flushing of the lake, I don't believe will hurt the lake in the least. Sure; the fresh water will push the trout outside for a while, but just like Venice, when the fresh water flow rates die off, the saltwater will come back in, starting with a mixture of fresh water on top and salt water on the bottom, then just the salt water. I think that once the spillway is closed we will see a quick return to normal. The guys in Venice see the same thing happen every time the river gets a good rise. Who knows, we may have another Venice on our hands, after it's all said and done. Some of the best fishing we had in the lake for awhile, came just after Katrina. Just my 2 cents.
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   Butch
If all that crap they pumped into the lake after Katrina didn't kill the lake, nothing will. Lets think positive, the lake will grow to be the best fishing pond ever.
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Was planning on doing some catfishing this weekend at manchac. With the flood gates being opened is that still possible.
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will it really be good to go catfishing this weekend at manchac. was planning on going but now worried about spillway being opened.I have 18 foot Bass tracker.
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   ruger109
THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!!!!

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
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I have been on the Board of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation for well over a decade. Certainly, the choice of public safety versus the effects of spillway on the lake is a no-brainer.

If we are in danger of flooding, the spilway must be opened.

Will it destroy the lake? No. Will it cause short term ill-effects? Certainly. The river water is loaded with silt and is high in nitrogen from fertilizers from up the line. If the spillway opens long enough, there is the possibility of algae blooms and the potential for oxygen depletion and fish kills, etc.

Certainly there will be disruptions to the system as it has been functioning.

Down the line, history has shown that the lake recovers well and production always seems to increase in the years following an opening. (My experience anyway)

Someone compared this to Venice, it's not a true comparison because the Venice system goes through a more natural process where the river water is filtered through the vegetation, cycles in a more gradual change and this just sends massive amounts of "pure" river water into the lake in a short period of time.

Given the choice of my house flooding (again!) or messing up the lake for a while, I have to go with the lesser of the two evils.
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Angel,The answer to your question is yes.
Manchac gets water from maurepas which is fed by numerous river systems,so this is not going to make for a dangerous situation for you at pass manchac.
It's not like a huge wall of water is going to come up pass manchac towards the 55 bridge.
Go out and try and report back .
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   Robbie J
Hey Guys, a friend of mind found these satellite IR images of the river water influx into the lake system. It only show images for the duration just before and during the spillway opening in March 1997. They don't show the images after the spillway was closed, but the images are neat and show how the river water affects the lake Pont and lake Bornge. Just follow the link I've inserted.

http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/pontchartrain/imagery/bonnet.html
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   Butch
What about all the debris that will come through the spillway? I think everyone needs to be extra careful in the lake after they open the spillway. I've seen some big stuff drifting down the river when its high like it is now and I'm sure some of it will be flowing through the lake.
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   cobiaman
Let the Mighty Mississippi push her waters in the lake. Better than breaching a levee down river and flooding thousands of homes and people. Those who think different are DRINKIN the KOOLAID!!
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...with all those unemployed people in N.O. ???...they could have used some "Drum Beaters" to get the game out before they pulled the pins ???...I think we should go over to the Spillway Bar...have a few cold one's with the big dawgs ???...shoot some 8 ball off the side pocket ???...eat few hot seasons eggs ??? ...and discuss the matter ???...UGH /cheers
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   S a l t y
Well, it's official! Over 500 people sittin' around the levee watchin' the water flow....nuthin' else better to do, I guess.

Salty
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Well,I just returned from photographing the event for the army corps.
Salt,there were over 1000 people on either side of the spillway.
And you want to talk about ethics?
Why did GOV. Jindal need 2 blackhawk helicopters for the event?
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   ruger109
Post pics Meaux
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Gimme bout 25 min to upload them.
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   Butch
Is that muddy river water pass the Hwy 11 bridge already??? I just came over the bridge and the lake has what looks like some river water and patches of clean water.
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   ole-man
i guess what you mean is kill the fish,crabs,and shrimp to save the chocolate city. imagine that
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   ruger109
First of all, it's not just New Orleans that's in trouble stupid. Secondly, that's a sad comment ole-man!!!!!!!!!!!

Nuff Said!!!!!!! Please delete comment
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   doug
Why isn't the river water diverted through the achafalaya basin since it is already fresh water? Iwould think it would clear out some of the aquatic vegetation that is clogging up lots of the area.
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The morganza spillway opening would have a detrimental monetary impact on a whole lot of businesses and people compared to the opening of the Bonnie Carre spillway. Opening the Bonnie Carrie spillway has a lot of beneficial effects that outway the negative.
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   ole-man
makes more sence to me but what do i know i'm a sad person says ruger i figured i get slack from that comment.i like the city just not the bad company that it seems to grow
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   ole-man
did think about that,but i will
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   doug
What are the positive and negative effects? I see it as salwater and freshwater as opposed to freshwater and freshwater. What about the freshwater diversion project? Why the lake is what I'm wondering?
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   ruger109
Just trying to point out that there are BAD people everywhere dude. New Orleans has more than its share to be sure, but it's just plain disrespectful to all the good people in New Orleans (not to mention a lot of other people that would be effected outside N.O.)to equate a City as a whole to less that fish and shrimp!!!!!!

I stand by my post, it was a SAD comment and I think you should remove it.
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The lake holds saltwater fish, but you can also catch bass, perch and blue cats. Years back about this time of year we would fish inside the Williams boat launch bouncing artificials along the rock edges and catch bass. And cast out with fresh shrimp and pick up on a few flounders, go out to the point, across from treasure chest and catch reds. I don't think the opening of the spillway is as big a deal as some have claimed. The people who go to the spillway to fish, crawfish and crab will be very happy when this is over. All the ponds will be restocked. Nobody can really complain anyway, this is exactly what the spillway was built for.
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They already flush some of the Mississippi River water thorugh the basin. You have any idea how high the water is right now in Morgan City? I don't but I know its well over flood stage already and I don't think its supposed to crest until next week. I'm only 600 miles away so I may be wrong. But I don't think they'd be able to push much more water through the basin, at least not enough to make a difference.
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Basin water is at 7ft as of 3PM, supposed to crest at 7.5ft april 22nd in Morgan City. Flood Stage is 4ft. Its been over that for 2 months now. they will only flood Morgan City again if they KNOW that New Orleans is GOING to flood. Flood of record 1973 at 10.53ft.

Oh and i am pretty sure the grass is being taken care of already! lol
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G, New Orleans has the highest murger rate in the nation. N.O. is third to last in ranking in the louisiana education system. N.O. was ranked third on the dirtiest major cities in america in a poll by GMA. It has a history of extremely corrupt local government. The place is 8ft. below sea level. Besides the port, N.O. does not contribute ANYTHING to the state. The amount of welfare money(our taxes) that goes into that city is more than is imaginable. Yes, good people live there; but i can't imagine why. N.O. would contribute more to the economy if it were a big lake to get sea food out of.
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   ole-man
I'm game for any new place to fish
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...if my memory serves me right they had signs on both ends of Morganza "Cross at Your Own Risk" kind'a makes 'ya wonder ???...cheers
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   ole-man
both sides of morganza is flooded levee broke
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   E---MAN
There is only one side of the morganza spillway that is flooded.
The levee that was breeched was still inside the fore bay.
The farmers who plant inside were just trying to save their crops. if the levee had broken at the spillway the atchafalaya spillway would be flooded.
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   ole-man
not really sure my brother was telling me leave broke and it took 16 and half hours to fill 8000 acres before they could get their big sand bags in place and he was wondering if they would open the atchafa?? to let it out he said his boss took pictures and it looked like it did in tara with the deer but i did not see it for my self
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   ole-man
im not sure im not even sure how their leave system is set up im going on third hand info
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   southnboy
the lake on the 1-10 bridge sure looks like CAFE O LAIT as far as you can see. The water is moving pretty good in a few cuts but nothing wide scale. I have seen it higher on the train tracks with the right wind and a good rain. Let the crawfishing begin
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The Advocate should read next year," People catching trout in the 5 to 6 lb range on the 9th ward artificial reef in chocolate lake".
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   E---MAN
There are a couple of levees inside the river side of the
spillway. these are the potato ridge levees.
They were built to try to save alot of the land in the forebays from being flooded in normal high water times so that the farmers could farm this land.
In extreme times the potato levees flooded and let the water spread out in the fore bay. This time the farmers tried to stop mother nature and it aint happening.
They lost alot of crops in the fore bay but that is part of planting in a known flood zone.
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   ole-man
yep and the shrimp and crabs we catch ought to be very big because they could feed using the food stamp card we supplied most of chocolate city with
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   ole-man
now i understand a little better
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   S a l t y
Just heard on the 9:00 News.....likely will last several weeks.

Salty
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   ole-man
channel 8 says a month is probable
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   cobiaman
Like I said before let her flow in the Lake. By the way if you know a little about geography New Orleans is not the only place south of the floodway bro. And if the lake can survive all the S#&T pumped after Katrina it sure can suvive this little problem. See Ya!
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   cobiaman
Good feedback!!! The lake will survive!!
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Am I wrong or is the mississippi river supposed to creast at 42 feet on the 21st?? I was also wondering if opening the bonecare will help the water level in morganza?
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   S a l t y
Bornkiller, maybe 42' upriver but 17' at the Carrolton guage.

Salty
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   Butch
Just a reminder. Watch for logs and other debris floating in the Lake. Hate to see someone get hurt or damage your hull.
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Opening the Bonnet Carre spillway will not have any meaningful effect on the river level upstream at Morganza.
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First off, anyone that refers to New Orleans as Chocolate city, deserves to be brought out back, and shot. There is more going on in this city than any of you will ever know. Yes there are bad people, yes there are corrupt politics and yeah, we have issues with some of our people wanting each other dead, but what city doesn't in this day and age? Our public educations system sucks, we know this. As far as I am concerned, if you do not live here, and are not Involved somehow in the government, then it is none of your d@mn business. And if you do live here and you still think like that, shame on you for forgetting where you came from.
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   bob-58
So i guess that means that Ray (Choco charm) nagin deserves to be shot????
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Please refer to the corrupt politic section of my previous statement.
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