High River: More Inspections, No Nearby Work

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Mississippi River is high enough at New Orleans to prompt daily levee inspections and a ban on subsurface work within 1,500 feet (457 meters) of a levee.

The river was 15 feet (4.6 meters) deep at the Carrollton Gage on Monday, prompting the moves, the Army Corps of Engineers said in a news release.

The corps and local levee districts have been checking levees from Baton Rouge to Venice, at the river’s mouth, twice a week since Jan. 9, when the river was 11 feet (3.3 meters) at New Orleans and rising.

Local levee districts are also no longer allowed to grant waivers from a ban on subsurface work within 1,500 feet of levees south of Baton Rouge and other restrictions until the water at New Orleans is once again less than 15 feet deep.

Twice-weekly inspections and initial work limits began Jan. 21 along the Atchafalaya River, which takes about one-third of the Mississippi’s water.

Current forecasts don’t indicate a need to operate flood control structures further upriver, the news release said.

Officials in Mississippi sued in December, trying to force the Corps and the Mississippi River Commission to consult with them before opening the Bonnet Carré Spillway in Louisiana again. The federal lawsuit said wildlife and localities were hurt because the agencies opened the spillway for long periods without considering the consequences.

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