Corps opens Muddy Bayou gates to 6 inches

Published 9:43 am Thursday, April 28, 2016

The level of Eagle Lake is expected to drop further following an Army Corps of Engineers decision to open the gates at the Muddy Bayou Control Structure to 6 inches.

Corps Vicksburg District spokesman Greg Raimondo said the decision followed a Wednesday meeting between Corps officials and officials with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks at the Vicksburg District offices to discuss the reducing the level at Eagle Lake from 81.07 feet to its normal level at 76.9 feet.

State wildlife officials called the meeting out of concern opening the control structure’s gates would allow silver carp, an invasive species in Steele Bayou, to go in to Eagle Lake and threaten game fish like bass and crappie by competing for food in the lake.

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The decision to increase the opening at Muddy Bayou was one of three approved at the meeting, Raimondo said.

Another was the development of a velocity table showing the speed and amount of water entering Steele Bayou from Eagle Lake.

“Some scientists at ERDC (the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center) have determined that carp have a difficult time swimming upstream when the water reaches a certain velocity or speed,” Raimondo said.

Because the water in Eagle Lake is higher than the water on the Steele Bayou side of the control structure, he said, water will pass through the gates at a faster speed; a speed that could make it difficult for the carp to swim into the lake.

“And the more the Mississippi falls, the lower Steele Bayou will fall and the faster water will move through Muddy Bayou,” he said.

He said engineers at the Vicksburg District will develop a velocity table to help determine the gate openings to release water using the information from ERDC scientists.

The Corps will also study the feasibility of installing a screen in the control structure to prevent the carp from swimming in to the lake through the control structure regardless of gate openings.

“We’re going to look at it,” Raimondo said.


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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