WRKF

Mississippi River

Those calliope-playing Mississippi riverboats will soon be carrying more than passengers. Scientists are preparing to attach monitors to some boats in an effort to gather more data on the river's water quality.

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is predicted to be the second biggest in history, according to a new forecast from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).

The dead zone is mostly caused by agricultural run-off from the Mississippi River; nutrients from fertilizers like nitrogen and phosphorus enter the water, causing algae to bloom once it slows and heats up in the Gulf of Mexico. When the algae decays, it uses up oxygen in the water which can stress and kill some sea creatures. The condition of reduced oxygen is known as hypoxia.

The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to open the Morganza Flood Control Structure on Sunday to relieve flooding on the Mississippi River. For those who live and work downstream of the spillway, that means it’s time to get ready.

For this story, we’re going to take a trip down the floodway, north to south. We’ll start in the town of Morganza, and end up down near the Gulf, talking to people along the way.

Towns along the Upper Mississippi River are dealing with some of the worst flooding they’ve ever seen. Busted levees. Flooded downtowns. What does that mean for us in Louisiana? When should we be concerned, and when should we not be?

The Army Corps of Engineers expects to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway Friday afternoon.

Located upriver from New Orleans, the Bonnet Carre Spillway acts as a release valve for the Mississippi River. When the water reaches a flow of 1.25 million cubic feet per second, the Corps opens the spillway to divert some of that water into Lake Pontchartrain.

The Mississippi River has been at flood stage for months. Levees and spillways keep most homes and businesses safe and dry from the flood waters, but the high water still creates headaches for levee districts and industries like oil and gas, and fisheries.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, WWNO coastal reporter Travis Lux went to find out how the river creates problems we can’t always see. WWNO’s Tegan Wendland got the details.

Heavy rains in the Midwest have caused the Mississippi River to swell. To relieve pressure on local levees, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin operating the Bonnet Carre Spillway in Norco on Wednesday.

The levees near New Orleans are only built to handle water moving at 1.25 million cubic feet per second -- quick enough to fill the Superdome in about a minute, the Corps estimates. When the river gets going that fast the Corps opens the spillway, diverting some of that water into Lake Pontchartrain.

Every summer, a dead zone forms in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s an area with so little oxygen that marine life can’t survive, caused mostly by agricultural fertilizers that wash down the Mississippi River.

 

According to a new study from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), it’s much smaller this year. But, that might not necessarily be a sign of progress.

Sustaining Rebuilt Coastal Marshes

Jan 24, 2018
Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries

Dr. Robert Twilley, LSU Oceanic Studies professor and director of the Louisiana Sea Grant program, it’s time to rethink the premises upon which Louisiana is basing its coastal restoration projects.

"I doubt those marsh creations are going to have more than a 20-year lifecycle without modifying the way we manage the river," he told members of the Governor’s Coastal Advisory Commission Tuesday.

Flood Fight

Jan 11, 2016
Frank Barnett

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.


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