Officials with the Army Corps of Engineers took the first steps on Sunday to minimize the effects of high water and potential flooding along the Mississippi River. Sunday morning the Corps authorized the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway just outside of New Orleans. By opening the spillway engineers hope to be able to divert some of the Mississippi River's waters into Lake Pontchartrain.

This marks the 11th time that the Bonnet Carre Spillway has been opened since its construction in 1911.

You know, you have a structure that was built in the 30s and you have literally 7,000 wooden needles that when the water is up against it, it's holding back an entire river.

That's what Ricky Boyett, a spokesman for the Corps of Engineers, told the Louisiana Radio Network. He went on to say that the purpose of the Bonnet Carre Spillway is to protect New Orleans. Meanwhile up river authorities are waiting to open the Morganza Spillway that will help protect Baton Rouge.

In this case, we would open the structure and divert it into the floodway and into the Atchafalaya.

There is an expectation that the Morganza Spillway could be opened as early as Wednesday however it won't be opened as quickly as the Bonnet Carre Spillway was because of wildlife considerations. 

Out of concern for the Louisiana Black Bear the Morganza Spillway is expected to be opened slowly, allowing for a slow rise in waters.

And what that'll do is hopefully help Wildlife and Fisheries and the other environmental agencies get in there and try and help get these bears out of the floodway, out of harm's way.

Regardless those with interest along the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya Rivers need to remain cognizant of the latest announcements made by the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the opening of these two spillways.