Army Corps of Engineers

All the dry weather means there's less water flowing through the once mighty river into the Gulf of Mexico, and low outflow means saltwater from the Gulf is creeping in.

Some Louisiana cities have already begun purchasing drinking water. Now New Orleans is at risk.

An 11-mile stretch of the Mississippi River was closed today because of low waters levels.

The AP reports:

"Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Tippets told The Associated Press on Monday that the stretch of river near Greenville, Miss., has been closed intermittently since Aug. 11, when a vessel ran aground.

River closed as crews start work on sill

Aug 15, 2012

The Mississippi River has been closed temporarily as contractors placed a pipeline in the Mississippi River to build an underwater barrier that the Army Corps of Engineers says will stop the advance of salt water threatening drinking water in the New Orleans area.

Due to low water levels in the Mississippi River, salt water has been moving far upriver and was at the outskirts of New Orleans by Wednesday, reaching 89 miles north of the mouth of the Mississippi.

Fishermen in the Henderson area said their hoop nets were falling victim to alligator overpopulation. The gators were finding easy prey in the fishermen's catch.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter says that after Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette explained the problem at a July town hall meeting in St. Martin Parish, he asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to check.

He says the corps found too many gators on some of its land and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries increased the number that could be killed there next year.

Plaquemines Parish officials say they're prepared to use barges to supply fresh water to processing plants in Port Sulphur, Dalcour and Pointe-a-la-Hache if necessary.

The parish gets its water from the Mississippi River, but that source of water is being threatened by the intrusion of salt water from the Gulf of Mexico due to low river levels.

Besides using barges to ship in fresh water, the parish says it may rely on freshwater piped in from neighboring parishes.

US Army Corps of Engineers

Louisiana has so far avoided disastrous drought conditions declared in nearly half the counties in the United States. But southeast Louisiana is starting to feel the effects of a lower Mississippi River.

Salt water moves up Miss. River, Army Corps reacts

Aug 7, 2012

The Army Corps of Engineers says it will construct an underwater sill in the Mississippi River to stop salt water from threatening drinking water supplies in the New Orleans area.

The move is needed because water levels in the drought-stricken Mississippi have gotten so low that the river is nearly at sea level and this is allowing salt water from the Gulf of Mexico to move far inland.

At the latest check on Monday, salt water was on the outskirts of New Orleans.

The Army Corps of Engineers plans a public meeting Tuesday on measures it is taking to mitigate the impact of wildlife habitat as construction continues on a levee and flood protection system in Plaquemines, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes.

The presentation and discussion are set for 6:30 p.m. at the Ernest Tassin Senior Center on Fourth Street in Westwego.

With the Mississippi River running at low levels, salt water is moving up from the Gulf of Mexico.

The Times-Picayune reports that denser, heavier saltwater flows upriver beneath fresh water flowing downstream when the river's flow drops below normal. The Army Corps of Engineers says salt water is not yet considered a threat to water supplies in the New Orleans area.

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded an $18.6 million contract for drainage construction in the Industrial Canal area on Jefferson Parish's west bank.

The contract, an element of the Louisiana Urban Flood Damage Reduction Project, seeks to reduce flooding that might result from about 9 inches of rain falling over a 24-hour period.

The contract was awarded to Fleming Construction Co. of Jefferson Parish.

The 36-month project includes removing underground drainage pipes and replacing them with a reinforced concrete open channel.