Mississippi River and Tributaries System efficiently passing flood crest, operation of Morganza Floodway is not required

Published Jan. 11, 2016

VICKSBURG, MISS., January 11, 2016 – Based on current Mississippi River forecasts by the National Weather Service and hydraulic modeling, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not anticipate operating the Morganza Control Structure during this high-water event.

“The Mississippi River and Tributaries project allows the Corps to undertake an MR&T systems approach to managing Mississippi River high-water events,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Wehr, commanding general, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley Division. “The latest information indicates that the river crest can be safely passed through South Louisiana without operation of the Morganza Control Structure.”

The operational trigger for the Morganza Control Structure is when river levels reach 57 feet at the structure and a forecast flow of 1.5 million cubic feet per second and rising. The current forecasts show the river height reaching 57 feet at the structure on Jan. 15, 2016, but the projected peak flow rate will be 1.44 million cfs on Jan. 17, 2016.  This rate of flow is within the design capacity for the Mississippi River levees between the Morganza Floodway and the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway.

Although the operation of the Morganza Floodway is not currently required, the Atchafalaya Basin is still expected to experience a significant high-water event this year. Projected water levels for the basin are expected to reach 20 feet on or around Jan. 17, 2016, in Butte Larose and 8 feet on or around Jan. 21, 2016, in Morgan City. 

“The safety of the public is our primary concern,” said Wehr. “We want transparent communications that enable risk informed decision making by authorities at all levels to maximize public safety and best utilize limited resources.”

The Corps and its local, state and federal partners will remain vigilant throughout this high-water event. Continued operation of the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway is required until the water recedes below 1.25 million cfs in the greater New Orleans area.


Bob Anderson
Ricky Boyett

Release no. 16-002