Bonnet Carre Spillway set to open Friday at 10 a.m.

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We have a new development on a story we’ve been covering for quite some time now.

The Army Corps of Engineers has decided to open 20 bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway tomorrow at 10 a.m. to the swelling of the Mississippi River and according to decision makers, to save lives and property around New Orleans.

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Dr. Moby Solangi has worked as a marine biologist and researcher in South Mississippi for more than 40 years and has seen first-hand the devastating effects last year’s record-breaking back-to-back openings of the Bonnet Carre Spillway had in South Mississippi and beyond. “I think we had a total of about 155 dolphins. That was the highest in my 40-year career.  With the dolphins, we know many of them had freshwater lesions.”

He says he and other researchers at Gulfport’s Institute for Marine Mammal Studies get a good gauge on our area’s environmental health by the injured and dead marine life they handle. Dr. Solangi says our environment and our economy, particularly those who make their living on our waters , are still reeling from last year’s spillway openings and sees even darker days on the horizon with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway again on Friday. “This is a double whammy because they were affected because of a lack of seafood because the oysters were dead. Now they can’t even go to work because of these executive orders.”

Ultimately all the major waters and tributaries from 31 states drains into the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico; however, during flooding, that water is diverted to Mississippi when the Bonnet Carre Spillway and other diversions are open, adversely impacting our Mississippi Sound. “Mississippi is not connected to the Mississippi River. The only way the Mississippi River water comes through it is through these diversions, like the Bonnet Carre. We are basically the dumping ground when they open up these diversions. We’ve got the Morganza Spillway. I think the Secretary of State has indicated numerous times the Morganza needs to be looked at. I think there are other strategies that can be taken into account. I think it’s time our Congressional folks get Mississippi a seat at the table so we can have our concerns registered and looked after. It is a real difficult situation for the only state in the nation that is facing this.”

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