Coast Guard prepares for pollution and search and rescue due to rising water on Inland River System

NEW ORLEANS -- Onlookers observe high floodwaters at the Bonnet Carre spillway, May 9, 2011. The Coast Guard is supporting the Army Corps of Engineers to minimize damage to property, structures and to help save lives from historic flood levels. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard photo

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard is preparing for potential search and rescue and pollution response as a result of flooding on the Western Rivers.

The Coast Guard has reached out to Coast Guard units outside of the affected area and directed them to remain on standby to assist where severe flooding is possible.

Coast Guard Disaster Assistance Response Teams are moving into the areas where the potential for flooding is high. DARTs consist of six crewmembers who are capable of conducting operations in shallow water and urban environments. Each DART is outfitted with three, 16-foot shallow water boats, various rescue and communications equipment, and supplies.

Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans and Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., are also providing over flights to assess population concerns and identify potential pollution sources in areas where severe flooding is possible.

The Coast Guard is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as they manage their responsibilities for flood control and is participating in several conference calls daily to coordinate flood response efforts. The Coast Guard has placed a liaison officer with the Mississippi River Division in Vicksburg, Miss., and a liaison officer in many USACE District offices and USACE emergency operation centers.

Coast Guard Captain of the Ports are continually reviewing the need for, and implementing, safety zones as well as issuing marine safety information bulletins to ensure the safe navigation of marine traffic. The Coast Guard has been very proactive in coordinating all potential actions with industry through daily River Industry Executive Task Force, New Orleans Port Coordination Team and Lower Mississippi River Commission conference calls.

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