BATON ROUGE - State agencies continue their efforts to fight and prepare for flooding in communities across Louisiana. Updates from individual agencies are below.
FLOOD FIGHTING EFFORTS
In support of State and Parish requirements, the Louisiana National Guard has approximately 1,150 Guardsmen mobilized for this emergency. Today, the National Guard is providing aviation support to St. Mary Parish officials in order to assess levees and potential areas for flooding.
Yesterday, Louisiana Guardsmen assisted in the identification of 26 new Sand or Pin Boils in northeast Louisiana. Guardsmen have now located and flagged 219 Sand or Pin Boils to date: 77 in East Carroll, 11 in Madison, 46 in Tensas, and 85 in Concordia.
To date, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has delivered 252,400 sandbags across the state in support of flood protection efforts. The Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration reports the following supplies on hand 49,000 linear feet of HESCO barriers, 13,000 larger sandbags, 1.1 million small sandbags, 23 pumps, 539 sheet pile.
- DOTD worked with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to ensure that additional lights on Mississippi River Bridge at Vidalia stay turned on to maintain safe river passage for marine traffic. Previously, the aesthetic lights were set to turn off automatically at 1 a.m. At the request of Concordia Parish and the U.S. Coast Guard, the additional bridge lighting will continue throughout the hours of darkness.
West Baton Rouge Parish
- DOTD hauled 90 cubic yards of sand to the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office for sandbagging operations. This brings the total to 456 cubic yards of sand. Additionally, DOTD hauled approximately 29,200 sandbags from West Baton Rouge Parish in flood fortification efforts across the state, including operations in Stephensville, Butte LaRose and Amelia.
East Carroll and Madison Parish
- To date, DOTD has hauled from Morehouse Parish 9,300 cubic yards of sand to East Carroll and Madison parishes. DOTD has hauled approximately 223,200 sandbags to flood protection efforts across the affected northern parishes that line the Mississippi River (Tensas and East Carroll parishes).
St. Martin Parish
- La. 3177 in Butte La Rose, St Martin Parish, will be closed until further notice due to high water.
- DOTD provided staff to assist in surveying work along state routes in St. Martin Parish. The survey team is updating elevation information which will provide a reference for predicted water depths and assist in the continued flood fight efforts.
Because of rising floodwaters, many animals have been displaced from their normal habitats. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has 205 enforcement agents and 26 wildlife staff on duty and they staged a Mobile Command Unit in Krotz Springs, in addition to deploying 103 all terrain vehicles and two amphibious airplanes. From the Arkansas state line to the Concordia Parish line, LDWF enforcement agents made 94 contacts and 11 verbal warnings while on levee patrol since the morning of May 24.
LDWF continues to track and respond to reports of wildlife as necessary. In total, there have been fifteen reported bear sightings. Overnight, a bear was killed when it was hit by a train, the second bear fatality since the opening of the Morganza Floodway. LDWF is working with Union-Pacific to ensure trains will travel slowly through in an area where bears have been sighted to prevent additional bear fatalities. Efforts are underway to trap any bears that may try to utilize the train trestle corridor. The Louisiana Black Bear remains on the threatened and endangered species list. For assistance with black bears that may be forced into populated areas by flood waters, LDWF asks the public call 1-800-442-2511 toll free.
For assistance with these, or any other wildlife species, that endanger human health or safety, call the following LDWF field offices at:
- Baton Rouge 225-765-2800
- Hammond 985-543-4777
- Monroe 318-343-4044
- New Iberia 337-373-0032
- Opelousas 337-948-0255
- Pineville 318-487-5885
The LDWF also is monitoring the status of several Wildlife Management Areas affected by flooding.
- Attakapas Island WMA (St. Martin/St. Mary/Iberia Parishes): Flood waters appear to have reached as far south as Attakapas Island WMA. Atchafalaya Basin appears to be completely inundated. The water is about half way up the approach ramp to the levee crossing on the unprotected side.
- Dewey Wills WMA (LaSalle/Catahoula Parishes): All areas north of the Diversion Canal have been unaffected by flood waters, but approximately 90 percent of the WMA south of the Diversion Canal has been inundated. An area west of Muddy Bayou and south of Muddy Bayou Road, along with scattered willow oak ridges remains dry. The area north and west of Saline Lake appears exceptionally deep. Most of the water here appears to be backwater flooding with no visible current or turbid water.
- Red River & Three Rivers WMA (Concordia Parish): The portion of Red River WMA on the protected side of the levee remains dry due to the continued closure of the Bayou Cocodrie locks. Approximately 90 percent of Three Rivers WMA is inundated from Red River backwater.
- Sherburne WMA (Pointe Coupee/St. Martin/Iberville Parishes): The WMA is almost entirely inundated by flooding from the Morganza spillway and Atchafalaya River. Only a small portion on the SW corner remains dry. Headquarters area appears to have a water depth of 4-5 feet with a substantial current running through the Headquarters compound. Rifle range flood depth appears to be seven feet. Several deer and one small flock of turkey were sighted across the Atchafalaya River from Sherburne WMA seeking refuge on a short stretch of road right-of-way which was out of flood waters.
Department of Corrections
DOC offender crews are working sandbagging details in the following parishes: Tensas, Iberville, West Baton Rouge, Pointe Coupee, Terrebonne and Assumption. Offender crews have filled/placed more than 466,000 sandbags to date.
Probation and Parole agents continue to provide perimeter security for Dixon Correctional Institute, to assist with levee patrols at Louisiana State Penitentiary and to assist with community policing efforts in Assumption Parish
Department of Health and Hospitals
Morgan City Health Care, a nursing home in St. Mary Parish, is evacuating 18 residents that needed a higher level of care to its sister facility, Franklin Health Care, as a precautionary measure. Sixty residents will remain at the nursing home in St. Mary parish. They will bring what staff they need to assist the staff already in Franklin. The move started Tuesday, May 24, and is expected to finish Wednesday, May 25. This facility is still under normal operations, with power, and the local Office of Emergency Preparedness has not issued an evacuation order.
For emergency updates from the State of Louisiana, visit emergency.louisiana.gov or follow along on Twitter at @GOHSEP and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gohsep