Corps of Engineers conducts practice exercise on Bonnet Carre Spillway

NEW ORLEANS -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is removing and replacing 10 to 20 needles in the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

Today, crews conducted a practice operation in case the needles have to be removed, allowing water from the Mississippi River to flow into the Spillway as a relief valve when the river reaches flood stage.

The Corps does not expect to open the Spillway this year, but the Corps is watching the Mississippi River closely.

The last time the Corps opened the Spillway was January 2016 to mitigate flooding in the Mississippi. It was only the 11th time in the Spillway's history that it had to be opened.

The Mississippi River typically sees higher than average water levels every spring as snow melts in the North and the South experiences heavier rains.