Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is questioning the use and non-use of the Bonnet Carré Spillway and the Morganza Floodway.
In a letter sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hosemann made an official request for the immediate review of the operating manuals and use of the Bonnet Carré Spillway and Morganza Floodway to end negative environmental impact in the Mississippi Sound and Louisiana marshes.
Hosemann, who serves as Land Commissioner for the State of Mississippi, also asked the Corps several questions regarding the operation of the Spillway, including why the Morganza Floodway was not opened this year and whether the Corps would support flexibility in the law regarding the operation. He requested answers within thirty (30) days following receipt of the letter.
“Simply put, we need more information to determine the causes and extent of damage so we can determine the next steps we need to take to protect our land, water, people, and resources,” Secretary Hosemann said. “We look forward to working with the Corps to find answers and solutions which address Mississippi’s needs concerning the operation of the spillways as they affect Mississippi and eastern Louisiana marshes.”
Since the Bonnet Carré Spillway has been opened twice this year, the freshwater intrusion into the Mississippi Sound has created devastating ecological damage to oyster reefs, fisheries, and marine life. The blue-green algal bloom has created water quality issues which have led to public beach closures along the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast, all to the Coast’s economic detriment.
Hosemann is planning to request to testify on this issue at the Mississippi River Commission’s next low-water inspection tour. In years past, he has testified before the Commission about damaging artificial flooding caused by the Old River Control Structure to 16th Section land in the southwest part of the State. Sixteenth section land is land reserved for lease to benefit public schools in Mississippi.