Information provided by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District, in collaboration and agreement with its local, state and federal partners, plans to operate the Muddy Bayou Control Structure in order to lower the elevation of Eagle Lake, located approximately 10 miles north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to 70 feet by the end of September.
The decision is based on standards established in the Eagle Lake Water Level Management Agreement, which permits the elevation of Eagle Lake to be lowered to a minimum of approximately 70 feet if deemed necessary. Lowering the lake will aid in recovery and repairs following the historic 2019 Yazoo Backwater flood.
The agreement was signed in 2000 by representatives of the Vicksburg District, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), the Warren County Board of Supervisors and the Madison Parish Police Jury.
District engineers anticipate Eagle Lake’s elevation to reach 70 feet by the end of September. Beginning in January 2020, conditions permitting, the district will operate the Muddy Bayou Control Structure to raise the lake’s elevation to 75 feet, which the agreement designates as a normal elevation for the winter. Once the lake reaches 75 feet, district engineers will use rainfall to increase the lake’s elevation to 76.9 feet throughout winter and spring.
MDWFP fisheries biologists will monitor the impacts of the water level drawdown on the fish populations and aquatic plant communities. Lower lake levels will also allow MDWFP staff to inspect the boat ramp and courtesy piers and make any necessary repairs.
Eagle Lake is closed to all boating activities until further notice.
Eagle Lake, along with the rest of the Yazoo Backwater area, experienced unprecedented, excessive rainfall and subsequent elevated water levels in early 2019. As of Aug. 27, the elevation of Eagle Lake was 79.2 feet.
The district continues to conduct regular inspections of its flood control works and to collaborate with its state, local and federal partners.
The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.