Vicksburg District opens Steele Bayou Control Structure gates, anticipates the opening of the Little Sunflower Control Structure

Published June 20, 2019

VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District opened the gates of the Steele Bayou Control Structure June 20 at 9 a.m.

 The Steele Bayou Control Structure, which was built in 1969, combined with the Mississippi River and Yazoo Backwater levees, prevents the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers from backing up and further flooding the Delta. The structure’s gates have been closed since June 7 preventing backflow.


 The Vicksburg, Mississippi, gage on the Mississippi River has been above flood stage for 125 consecutive days, which is the longest duration since 1927. The stage at the Vicksburg, Mississippi, gage on the Mississippi River is 49.4 feet as of June 20 and is forecasted to fall below 48 feet by the end of June. Flood stage at the Vicksburg gage is 43 feet.


 In consideration of National Weather Service forecasts, district engineers anticipate approximately 19,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) flowing through the Steele Bayou Control Structure by June 26. District engineers also anticipate conditions allowing for the opening of the Little Sunflower Control Structure around June 23 and approximately 8,000 cfs flowing through the structure’s gates by June 28.


 District engineers predict that the combined flows passing through the Steele Bayou and Little Sunflower control structures a week after opening could result in a 0.1-foot drop in elevation per day in the Yazoo Backwater area, which reached an all-time peak stage of 98.2 feet on May 23.


 District personnel and their local partners will continue to monitor the conditions of flood control works, including levees, flood walls and pumping stations across the entirety of the district’s jurisdiction. Citizens are encouraged to contact local authorities and management officials for updates about conditions in their area and should avoid activities on or near flood control works.


 The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,000 personnel. For more information, visit

Jessica Dulaney

Release no. 19-017