Mississippi River Flood of 2011

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On Monday May 9, 2011 Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper went on a patrol of the Mississippi River in light of the rising flood waters. We drove the river areas in  East Baton Rouge Parish, West Feliciana and Point Coupee Parishes and conducted an on-the-water patrol from the New Roads Ferry Landing to Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge and back. The area around the Mississippi River in Point Coupee and West Feliciana parishes is by far the largest area in Louisiana that is still part of the historic Mississippi River flood plane and is subject to regular flooding by the Mississippi River. The city of St. Francisville is already experiencing flooding in it’s lowest areas and the ferry connecting it to New Roads has been shut down. In fact most Mississippi River access has been closed off and law enforcement is keeping everyone away from the levees. We did manage to launch at the New Roads ferry landing but that may not be open much longer. As we were pulling the boat out two humvees with National Guard troops showed up with a Point Coupee Sheriff SUV and looked like they were getting ready to set up camp. Once you get on the river up where there are no levees it is clear that this is her natural state. The forests is a lush green and the fish and birds are loving it. We saw countless birds and heard many times more and the fish were churning the waters in the flooded forests. The crawfishermen will be happy next season. However, while nature revels in the fresh life-giving waters we must face the reality that there are serious potential dangers for the human communities that live along the Mississippi River. We hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  We have collected the following information and about the flood event for your consideration:

General Information:

U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Mississippi Rver flood control page:

http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/bcarre/missriver.asp 

NOAA Mississippi River Baton Rouge Hydrograph page:

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lix&gage=btrl1&view=1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1%22 

NOAA Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center:

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lmrfc/quickbrief.php 

Flood of 2011 Timeline:

April 28th

Gov. Jindal declares state of emergency expected to extend to Saturday May 28th.

http://www.avoyellestoday.com/view/full_story/13016900/article-Governor-declares-state-of-emergency-due-to-predicted-Mississippi-River-flood-stages–Avoyelles-backwater-possible?instance=secondary_news_left_column 

May 4th

Gov. Jindal requests the assistance of 1,500 national guardsman to assist in flood preparations and states that opening of the Morganza Spillway is a “significant probability.”
http://www.wafb.com/story/14574614/jindal-opening-morganza-spillway-a-significant-probability?redirected=true 

May 6th

Corp of Engineers announce projected opening of Bonne Carre Spillway due to highwater.
http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/news/all_articles_dy.asp?Start=5&Offset=5&CID= 

DOTD closes St. Francisville Ferry due to highwater.

http://www.dotd.louisiana.gov/moveablebridge/ 

Point Coupee Electric Membership Corp. disconnects power to approximately 350 camps in the Old River and Angola Ferry Landing areas due to dangers caused by high water.

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/High-water-threat-prompts-utility-shut-off-at-camps.html 

EBR Sheriff Dept. begins security patrol of MS River and Levee.

http://www.wafb.com/story/14585296/deputies-patrol-levee-and-river 

LDWF asks USCS to declare a commercial fisheries failure in Louisiana due to the opening of the Bonne Carre Spillway.

http://www.batonrougetoday.com/2011/05/09/ldwf-asks-uscs-to-declare-a-commercial-fisheries-failure-in-louisiana-and-sba-administrator-mills-to-activate-federal-disaster-declaration-in-anticipation-of-opening-bonnet-carre-spillway/ 

May 7th

Corp of Enginners release inundation map depicting projected flooding.
http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/bcarre/NO_District_Inundation_Spring_May_2011.pdf 

May 8th

Corp of Engineers proffers permit for emergency closure of Bayou Chene in an effort to combat flooding.
http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/news/view.asp?ID=462 

May 9th

Corp of Engineers opens 28 bays of the Bonne Carre Spillway to reduce threat of flooding from high river levels.
http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/news/view.asp?ID=463 

St. Landry Parish President, Don Menard, issues voluntary evacuation of residents east of Port Barre and a mandatory evacuation of all livestock on the levee and surrounding areas.
http://www.dailyworld.com/article/20110510/NEWS01/105100317 

Evacuations begin at Angola State Penitentary due to high water from the MS river.

http://www..nbc33tv.com/news/mississippi-rising/angola-begins-evacuations 

Gov. Jindal urges the public to stay off the levees and prepare for evacuations.

http://www.wafb.com/story/14598674/jindal-provides-updates-on-potential-flooding
http://www.labeoc.org/labeoc/alerts/Alert_Details.aspx?id=210 

DOTD closes Whitecastle Ferry, and Edgar/Reserve Ferry due to highwater.

http://www.dotd.louisiana.gov/moveablebridge/ 

May 10th

Baton Rouge Police Dep. prohibits parking on the west side of River Road along the MS River levee.
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/Parking-on-west-side-of-levee-in-BR-is-now-prohibited.html 

Corp of Engineers open 44 additional bays of the Bonne Carre Spillway for a total of 72 bays open in an effort to keep the MS River flow from exceeding 1.25 million cubic feet per second at New Orleans.

Corp of Engineers announces the closure of the Old River Lock starting Thursday May 12th, due to the potential for flooding of the electrical control systems.
http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/news/view.asp?ID=464 

May 11th

Corp of Engineers opens 38 additional bays of the Bonne Carre Spillway for a total of 110.

Corp of Engineers releases Scenario 2 and Scenario 3 Inundation maps depicting possible flooding projections with non-operation of the Morganza Spillway.

http://www.mvn.usace.army.mil/bcarre/NODInundationMay2011Scenario2.pdf
http://www..mvn.usace.army.mil/bcarre/NODInundationMay2011Scenario3.pdf 

DPW begins installing water filled bladders atop levees in EBR parish to increase protection from rising water.

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/Officials-say-Prepare.html?index=14&c=y

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