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Flood Fight

The Mississippi River is still rising and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are in what they call a Flood Fight.

During Flood Fight the most important thing to the Corps is monitoring and attending to the well-being of the levees. All measures are taken to ensure its safety and well-being.

“There’s an area on the landside part of the slope here that’s eroding pretty bad," said Corps geologist Steve Savage. He was pointing out an area on the levee directly underneath the Mississippi River Birdge in downtown Baton Rouge. "So, we’re going try to work with whoever’s responsible for this area here to get a permanent fix.”

Savage is one of the corps officials personally driving and inspecting 450 miles of levee stretching from Venice to Baton Rouge – and they’re looking for anything and everything posing a threat.

“See all that material that’s been washed down here?" Savage asked me. He was pointing to the bike path beneath the erosion site. "That’s from rainwater. So, uh, more than likely we’re going to get a crew out here to put some sandbags to prevent any additional erosion.”

Rainwater is not all, though. From floating tree trunks to stray buoys, sand boils to erosion – everything is taken note of. Construction work even stops during Flood Fight, and barges aren’t allowed to tie off within 180 feet of the levee.

Savage documents all of it with his tablet, makes notes, and it’s instantly stored in the database at headquarters in New Orleans. The quicker they know about it, the quicker they can get it fixed. There’s no time to waste, because, as Savage put's it: "We're in the major flood fight right now.”

The Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened Sunday to alleviate some of the river pressure on the levee, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now saying they are not going to open the Morganza.