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Vicksburg District opens Little Sunflower Control Structure, Muddy Bayou Control Structure Gates

Published June 24, 2019

VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District opened the gates of the Little Sunflower Control Structure June 22 and the gates of the Muddy Bayou Control Structure June 24. 

The Little Sunflower Control Structure, which was built in 1977, combined with the Mississippi River, Yazoo Backwater levees and Steele Bayou Control Structure, prevents the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers from backing up and further flooding the Delta. The structure’s gates have been closed since May 4 preventing backflow.

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.

The Vicksburg, Mississippi, gage on the Mississippi River has been above flood stage for 129 consecutive days, which is the longest duration since 1927. The stage at the Vicksburg, Mississippi, gage on the Mississippi River is 48.9 feet as of June 24 and is forecasted to fall below 48 feet by the end of June. Flood stage at the Vicksburg gage is 43 feet. The stage at the Natchez, Mississippi, gage on the Mississippi River is 56.4 feet as of June 24 and is forecasted to fall below 56 feet by the end of June.

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 July 8. District engineers also anticipate conditions allowing for approximately 8,000 cfs to flow through the Little Sunflower Control Structure’s gates by July 10.

District engineers predict that the combined flows passing through the Steele Bayou and Little Sunflower control structures could result in a 0.2-0.3-foot drop in elevation per day in the Yazoo Backwater area by mid-July, 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 www.mvk.usace.army.mil.


Jessica Dulaney

Release no. 19-019