A Full Mississippi River and the Morganza Spillway

Yesterday I took a helicopter flight over the Morganza Floodway and saw the Mississippi full to the high banks in West Feliciana Parish and across it was near the levee top on the East side in Pointe Coupee Parish.  Big, scary water, yet not enough to open too many of the gates at Morganza. 

The Mississippi River being relieved of some pressure
by means of the Morganza Spillway 

 In the picture you can see agricultural lands in the background.  That reminds me of 1970s when we were battling to stop the Corps of Engineers channelization project on the Atchafalaya River.  That project would have drained much of the Atchafalaya Swamp during normal water levels and that would have dropped the guard of landowners to do more development within the floodway.  Then when a Mississippi River flood needed the relief of the spillway, it too would be developed.

Happily most of the Atchafalaya Basin below Highway 190 is still wet and wild. And hopefully the backwater flooding will not harm too many homes.

Giant waves rushing out of the Old River Control Structure
are over 30 feet tall.
Last Thursday I drove over the Old River Control Structure and photographed the giant standing wave.  The hydraulics of all that water coming through the structure made a colossal 30-foot tall wave that makes the rapids in the Grand Canyon look miniature.  Good for crawfish and bad for raccoons and deer, the Atchafalaya is getting a good flushing.  I am dreaming about all the exotic plants being flushed out to never return, that's pie in the sky, but what the heck, let's dream.

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