The Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, began readiness plans to operate the Birds Point-New Madrid (BP-NM) Floodway Monday. That means the Corps of Engineers is preparing to artificially open the floodway. The Corps will make a decision as to whether or not to do that on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
The Floodway is part of a flood risk management plan for the lower Mississippi River designed to minimize damage to property, structures and to help save lives from historic flood levels – also referred to as the Project Flood – on the lower Mississippi River.
The Commander of the Memphis District has the responsibility to plan and operate the BP-NM Floodway upon direction from the Mississippi River Commission (MRC) President.
The 1928 Flood Control Act gives the President of the MRC the authority to operate the BP-NM Floodway when the Mississippi River reaches 58 feet on the Cairo, Ill., gage with the prediction to rise to 61 feet and rising.
No decision can be made at this time whether or not to artificially open the floodway. However, as set forth in the operation plan, preparation for that event is necessary at this time in order to carry out the activation of the floodway, should flood pressures on the comprehensive system require activation.
Earlier Monday Gov. Jay Nixon issued a statement Monday regarding plans by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to intentionally breach the Birds Point levee along the Mississippi River:
"Earlier today, I mobilized the Missouri National Guard to respond to significant flooding across southern and southeastern Missouri, and waters across that region continue to rise. At this critical time, I have serious concerns about plans by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to intentionally breach the Birds Point levee along the Mississippi River near Mississippi and New Madrid counties. Intentionally breaching this levee would affect hundreds of Missouri families and pour a tremendous amount of water into 130,000 acres of prime farmland. As Missouri families deal with this dangerous flooding, intentionally breaching this levee would be a harmful and inappropriate action."
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