Muddy Bayou Control Structure gates might be opened at Eagle Lake

Published 7:39 pm Monday, March 11, 2019

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District has notified local authorities and emergency management officials that it may need to open the gates of the Muddy Bayou Control Structure, possibly sometime Tuesday.

The structure is located 13 miles northwest of Vicksburg in the Yazoo Basin, off Mississippi 465.

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The control structure regulates water flowing into or out of Eagle Lake through Muddy Bayou, a tributary of Steele Bayou.

The drainage structure, which was built as a fish and wildlife mitigation feature to improve fisheries in Eagle Lake, is used by the Corps during periods of high water in the Yazoo Basin to reduce the risk of damage to the Muddy Bayou Control Structure and prevent scour or further damage to roads and homes surrounding the lake.

The structure was opened in April 2016 to reduce the level of Eagle Lake.

There has been excessive rainfall in the Mississippi Valley and Yazoo Basin over the past 30 days, and the Steele Bayou Control Structure’s gates have been closed since Feb. 15, preventing water from draining from the majority of the Delta.

The Steele Bayou Control Structure prevents the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers from backing up and further flooding the Delta. The current stages in the lower Delta, in the Steele Bayou Sump near the Muddy Bayou Control Structure, are near record levels.

The present level in the backwater is 96.01 feet. The backwater would overtop the structure at 96.6 feet. The forecast is for the backwater to reach 97 to 97.5 feet later in the month.

According to information from the Corps, with the current rate of rise in the Steele Bayou Sump anticipated to remain steady, water will begin to overtop the Muddy Bayou Control Structure by the end of the week.

To prevent damage to the Muddy Bayou Control Structure, the Corps plans to raise the elevation of Eagle Lake to at least 86 feet approximately 48 hours prior to the structure overtopping, which could occur as early as Tuesday.

Without this measure, according to the Corps, overtopping of the structure could jeopardize the structure itself and potentially result in the uncontrolled and rapid filling of Eagle Lake.

Vicksburg District engineers will continue to monitor the water elevation near the Muddy Bayou Control Structure and throughout the Yazoo Basin.

Further filling of Eagle lake through the Muddy Bayou Control Structure may only be necessary if conditions threaten roads around the lake that become inundated and Eagle Lake is filling by means other than flow through the structure.