The Army Corps of Engineers could begin closing the Bonnet Carré Spillway in two-to-three weeks.
Officials tell Eyewitness News that the closure will begin when the river goes down to 15.5 feet at the Carrollton Gage. Crews will be able to safely begin closing the bays once the river reaches that level.
Based on the forecast from the National Weather Service, that should happen in the second or third week of July.
Army Corps of Engineers officials tell us that the closing will not be a quick operation since there is still a tremendous amount of water in the river.
Unprecedented flooding raised the river level so high that for the first time ever, the Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carré spillway twice in one year.
The prolonged opening flushed out Lake Pontchartrain’s brackish water, hurting the local seafood industry.
Gov. John Bel Edwards asked the federal government to declare a fisheries disaster for Louisiana.
Louisiana's oyster harvest is 80% below average for this time of year and more oysters are expected to die as temperatures rise, according to a preliminary report on the department's website. Shrimp landings were down 63% and blue crab landings down 45% in April from the five-year average. There's been a drop in the fish catch, but it hasn't reached the statewide average of 35% needed for a federal fisheries disaster declaration, the report says.
The opening may also be contributing to algae blooms affecting Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf coast. The algae and shut down several beaches due to the health risks it poses and even thrown off the food chain in the areas it has taken hold.