Tuesday, April 15, 2008

River Marries Lake

(picture is of the Mississippi River)

The Bonnie Carre Spillway is open. The winter water and heavy rains from up north made the Mississippi River swell. It was a risk of flooding New Orleans East or opening the spillway and dumping the water into one of the largest lakes in Louisiana. Poor Pontchartrain, she takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin.

At first, when Greg mentioned the sediment from the river that normally goes to the gulf and how this sediment will now be in the lake, I thought it was a good thing. Isn't that sediment supposed to be rich? His response was that the sediment includes the nitrates and chemicals from livestock and agriculture, such as pesticides from farmers, washing down from northern states. The sediments will create "dead zones" in the lake.

The spillway, an area of 5 1/2 miles, is where River Married Lake, the water flow is said to be a third of that at the Niagara Falls. We drove up the spillway and saw all the land that used to be dry, where people had picnics and there were ATV trials ~ all under water. I had a flashback of Katrina looking at the trees and knowing they would die. All those animals didn't know what was coming and are flooded out. And the lake? Poor heart, she is taking in more and more. The plant and marine life will suffer, as the lake is brackish water that generally doesn't change and here we are disturbing the balance and tossing in fresh water.

We saw where the "needles", large timber poles, were removed by cranes to allow the river to rush through. People were fishing and Greg made the comment, "They could probably catch catfish the size of my vehicle in the spillway now." It was weird to see the current rushing. As if New Orleans didn't have enough water issues from Katrina, it seems Mother Nature will have her say.

She is trying to move the river and the city is answering, "not this time." It was government's decision of community versus environment.

Click here to read an article of opening the spillway and see a map of the river, along with satellite images of the lake.

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