Parts of Area 9 closed to deer hunting last night (Jan. 10) because of the rising Atchafalaya River, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reported.

The closure in parts of Iberia, Iberville, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes was triggered when the river reached 18 feet at the Butte La Rose gauge this weekend, the LDWF said.

Deer hunting in those parts of the parishes between the Atchafalaya Basin guide levees south of Interstate 10 and north of U.S. Highway 90 will remain closed until the Atchafalaya River falls below the 18-foot mark, the agency said.

Current forecasts predict the river will continue to rise until at least Jan. 15, at which time the National Weather Service expects the river to be at 19.4 feet at Butte La Rose. No predicted fall is shown on the available forecast.

More closures within the northern Atchafalaya Basin will be implemented if the Morganza Control Structure is opened to relieve pressure on the Mississippi River levees. Current news reports say the U.S. Corps of Engineers will make a decision on that opening Thursday (Jan. 14)