The current Mississippi River level at the Carrollton Gage is approximately 17 feet and has held steady for several days. U.S. Coast Guard officials are working with maritime interests to ensure safe navigation.
The decision the Corps of Engineers makes about diverting the flow of the Mississippi River through a series of spillways and control structures upriver from New Orleans will influence the height of the water at the Carrollton Gage. Coast Guard officials indicated restrictions could be placed on traffic to the Port of New Orleans if the Carrolton Gage reaches 18 feet. The Bonnet Carre Spillway is open and as of Wednesday was operating at about half of its capacity. The Corps has said that it expects to open the Bonnet Carre fully within several days.
The Mississippi River Commission is considering opening the Morganza Spillway, which would also reduce the water level at the Carrollton Gage. The Morganza is normally opened when the flow of the Mississippi at the Red River reaches 1.5 million cubic feet per second.
“Operations at the Port of New Orleans remain unaffected by the high River level and we will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Coast Guard, the Corps and the local maritime community to keep commerce flowing safely on the Lower Mississippi River,” said Gary P. LaGrange, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “The Port of New Orleans understands and respects the Coast Guard’s responsibility to set parameters that allow for the safe navigation of the River and the Corps of Engineers’ responsibility to manage water flow to protect communities along the River. We believe the Corps’ goal is to not let the Carrolton Gage reach 18 feet and we are confident they have the controls and the mechanisms in place to achieve that goal.”