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Morganza Spillway Opened

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Uploaded on May 15, 2011

Courtesy: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morganza...

The Morganza Spillway is a flood-control structure in Louisiana between the Mississippi River and the Morganza Floodway, which leads to the Atchafalaya Basin and the Atchafalaya River in south-central Louisiana. The structure, located along the western bank of the Mississippi River at river mile 280, about three miles northwest of Morganza and 151 river miles upstream from Norco in Pointe Coupee Parish, is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Its purpose is to divert water from the Mississippi River during major flood events by flooding the Atchafalaya River and the Atchafalaya Basin (Atchafalaya Swamp). The spillway and adjacent levees also help prevent the Mississippi from changing its present course through the major port cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, to a course directly down the Atchafalaya to the Gulf of Mexico. The Morganza spillway has been opened only twice, in 1973 and 2011. The spillway's thousands of acres of forest and farmland are home to the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus), which has been on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service threatened list since 1992.

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States, in large part due to the Mississippi River swelling to 80 miles wide in spots. To provide protection against river flood and prevent a repeat of the Great Flood of 1927, Congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1928 to authorize the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build the Bonnet Carre Spillway (located 33 miles above New Orleans and completed in 1931), the Birds Point floodway in Missouri, and the the Morganza Floodway as part of the 1928 Mississippi River and Tributaries Project. The Morganza control structure portion of the project was completed in 1954 and subsequently became incorporated into the Mississippi River Commission's 1956 Project Design Flood, which added the Old River Control Structure in 1963 to the protections used to prevent Mississippi River flood. The Flood Control Act of 1965 provided further regulation over the Morganza Spillway's role in Mississippi River flood prevention. A concrete pit called a stilling basin was added at the Morganza Spillway in 1977 "to provide erosion protection after the velocity of water pouring through the open bays during a 1973 flood caused severe scouring, or gouging out, of the land behind the bays."

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