The Corps has been restricted on when they can open the spillway.

A federal judge’s ruling that the Army Corps of Engineers must consult with government fisheries experts before opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway is being appealed. The spillway control structure, between Norco and Montz, protects New Orleans from Mississippi River flooding. Opening the spillway diverts river water to lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne, after which it flows to the Mississippi Sound in the Gulf of Mexico. It is rarely used. But when the river is high, opening it eases pressure on the levees that protect New Orleans. However, it also carries pollutants and nutrients into the sound and reduces salinity. The result can damage oyster, fish and crab habitats, and cause algae blooms that affect marine life and beaches. Coastal Mississippi governments and business interests sued the corps over the openings in 2019, saying the agency must by law consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service before opening the spillway. In January, U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. of Gulfport, Mississippi, whom President George W. Bush nominated to the bench, agreed. The corps filed a notice of appeal Monday at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Written arguments have not yet been filed. Robert Wiygul, an attorney representing coastal Mississippi interests, said in January that the Guirola’s decision would not preclude the corps from opening the spillway should high water levels threaten New Orleans. He said the judge’s order meant the corps must discuss ways of mitigating the damage to fish habitat caused by opening the Bonnet Carre.

A right decision to open it and a right decision to look at other factors. Which will be taken when the need arises.

Corps of Engineers appeals opening restrictions