Since October 2018, the Mississippi River has been running high, thanks in part to heavier-than-usual rainfall across its northern and central stretches.
And when the water flows high on the most powerful river in the U.S., local residents and industries take notice. Fishermen fret the high January waters could mean a poor brown shrimp season ahead. Shippers using barges to haul grain bemoan headaches caused by fast-flowing waters and the river-traffic restrictions that follow. And federal agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers start inspecting levees daily and barring digging within 1,500 feet of the embankments built to protect river-side residents against flooding.
But in the swamps of the Atchafalaya Basin, roughly a million acres of bayous, lakes, and wetlands that span upwards from the Gulf of Mexico for 140 miles into Louisiana, there’s one thing that hasn’t responded as it should to the rising waters: construction of Energy Transfer’s Bayou Bridge pipeline.