BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — On Monday, Governor John Bel Edwards requested a federal emergency declaration from President Joe Biden as saltwater intruded the lower Mississippi River.

According to Edwards, freshwater levels in the Mississippi River have been low because of drought-like conditions in the state. Saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico is traveling upriver. Some parishes have already begun to become affected by the saltwater intrusion.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducted surveys on Sept. 20 and learned that saltwater overtopped an underwater sill near Alliance, Louisiana. The sill is currently being worked on to slow the saltwater intrusion.

Once the federal emergency declaration is approved, federal assistance to reimburse responses and mitigation efforts will be provided.

“I want to thank everyone at the state and local level who have been leading this fight, along with our partners at the Army Corps of Engineers,” said Edwards. “We have had discussions with FEMA about the unique challenges we face with this event.  We are optimistic the President will approve our Federal Emergency Declaration, which will be crucial to help our communities along the lower Mississippi River.”

Click here to read the Governor’s full letter to President Biden.