St. John The Baptist Parish News Release

Mississippi River Levee Update 1

Mississippi River Levee Update 1

Monday, May 9, 2011 - 3:45 PM

Administration is currently in the monitoring stage at this time and is in communications with the Corps of Engineers, the Ponchatrain Levee District (PLD), and the Lafourche Basin Levee District to monitor the water levels of the Mississippi River.

As of 9:00 am the Reserve gage reads the Mississippi River is at 23.2 feet. In clarifying the current status of the levee, there is flooding within the levee system in Reserve. Marine and industrial sites on the river are the only areas being impacted by this flooding, NOT RESIDENTIAL AREAS. The current forecast is expecting the river to continue rising to a crest of 28 feet on May 23 which would not impact residential areas.

The Bonnet Carre’ Spillway opened at 8:00 a.m. today, May 9. By opening the spillway, the levee system will be relieved of pressure.

The ferry is currently non-operational at this time. Crews are working on the docks as they were 6 feet under water as of this morning. The Captain is expecting the ferry to be out of service for the remainder of the week.

St. John Parish Administration in connection with the Pontchartrain Levee District and the Lafourche Basin Levee District would like to remind the public of restrictions regarding the river levees in St. John Parish in connection with ongoing high water conditions.

Those conditions mean:
• No digging activity and/or subsurface work of any kind is allowed within 1,500 feet of the levee centerline. This includes, but is not limited to pile driving, excavation and trenching.

• Driving on the river levees is prohibited. The parish is also asking that biking and walking on the levee (including on levee bike paths) be DISCONTINUED at this time due to safety concerns.

Inspection teams from the Army Corps of Engineers, Governor's Office Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and levee districts are monitoring the levee system throughout the day, seven days a week. In order to carry out the necessary assessments and operations, there will be zero tolerance for unauthorized parking and driving on the levees.

PLD is comprised of 115 miles on the east bank of the Mississippi River levee, which includes portions of six parishes, including East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Ascension, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles.

St. John the Baptist Parish will continue to monitor the situation and will advise of any changes as conditions warrant.