The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District notified local authorities and emergency management personnel of the need to open the gates of the Muddy Bayou Control Structure as early as today, located 13 miles northwest of Vicksburg in the Yazoo Basin.
The Muddy Bayou Control Structure regulates water flowing into or out of Eagle Lake through Muddy Bayou, a tributary of Steele Bayou. The drainage structure, which was constructed as a fish and wildlife mitigation feature to improve fisheries in Eagle Lake, is used by USACE during periods of high water in the Yazoo Basin to reduce the risk of damage to the Muddy Bayou Control Structure and to prevent scour or further damage to roads and homes surrounding the lake.
Due to excessive rainfall in the Mississippi Valley and Yazoo Basin over the past 30 days, the Steele Bayou Control Structure’s gates have been closed since February 15th, 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.
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 this week. In order to prevent damage to the Muddy Bayou Control Structure, USACE plans to raise the elevation of Eagle Lake to at least 86 feet approximately 48 hours prior to the structure overtopping. Without this measure, the overtopping of the structure could jeopardize the structure itself and potentially result in the uncontrolled and rapid filling of Eagle Lake.
District engineers will continue to monitor the water elevation near the Muddy Bayou Control Structure and throughout the Yazoo Basin. Further filling of the lake through the Muddy Bayou Control Structure may only be necessary if conditions are such that roads around the lake become inundated and Eagle Lake is filling by means other than flow through the structure.