Corps expands restricted area at Old River Control Complex

Boats, bank fishing prohibited within 500 feet of structures at confluence of MIssissippi, Atchafalaya rivers.

The restricted boating zone below the Old River Control Complex have been increased to 500 feet, the U.S. Corps of Engineers announced today.

No commercial or recreational boats are allowed within 500 feet of the auxiliary or low sill structures, the Corps said. Bank fishing also is prohibited in this area, the agency reported.

The change, which expands the restricted zone at the low sill structure from the previous distance of 175 feet and at the auxiliary structure from 300 feet, came in response to “water-related” accidents, the Corps said.

“Extension and enforcement of these restricted zones is crucial to protect boaters from the turbulent and dangerous water conditions near these structures,” the Corps’ press release reads.

The auxiliary structure works together with the low sill structure to maintain a 70/30 flow distribution between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, respectively.

“To maintain this flow distribution, discharge rates below each of these structures are continuously changing, with enormous amounts of water being released within minutes,” the Corps said. “Flows of 200,000 cubic feet per second are common during high-water situations and can create turbulent waters and dangerous boating conditions.”

These restriction zones are clearly marked by large U.S. Coast Guard – Aids to Navigation signs

Compliance with these restricted boating zones will be enforced by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers. Offenses could result in fines, imprisonment or the banning of the violator from federal lands and waters.