UPDATE: USACE Work Plan Distribution FY 2018

In spite of the $55 million in supplemental funding the Corps’ Mississippi Valley New Orleans (MVN) has received in Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 18), the Coalition estimates an additional need of $35 million to dredge the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA) at the Head of Passes. The Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) was at reduced channel dimensions from May 19, 2018 to June 9, 2018 due to a variety of factors, most notably high river stages (high sediment impact) and insufficient funding. The MVN previously received $40 million in supplemental funding through Public Law 115-123. The additional funding received from the FY 18 Corps’ Work Plan ($15 million) was categorized as being used to restore the critical channel feature at the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA) at the Head of Passes:

“Funds will be used for the Head of Passes Disposal Area maintenance.”

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) distribution plan for the FY 2018 Work Plan was released earlier this month, click here to review the complete details. The Work Plan amount to supplement the Corps Mississippi Valley New Orleans (MVN) Operations and Maintenance budget is $15 million. The Work Plan amount is the difference between the total in the President’s Budget Request and the amount appropriated by Congress, the amount appropriate by Congress is historically higher. The USACE’s total Work Plan amount for FY 18 was $425 million.

The Big River Coalition believes that the MVN will be forced to utilize the Work Plan funding ($15 million) to respond to shoaling on the Crossings Above New Orleans. The Coalition had previously requested supplemental funding, the amount above the President’s Budget Request, at $90 million and continues to believe that amount is what was needed to respond to the historic high river stages of early 2018.

The Coalition’s estimate based on historic experience with the MVN Budget needs was $90 million over the President’s Budget Request Amount ($83.846 million). The MVN has now been allocated a total of $138.846 million in FY 18.

The Coalition’s estimate of needed supplemental funding was based on the following estimates:

  1. $35 million to dredge the Mississippi River Ship Channel (Baton Rouge to the Gulf) in order to restore federally authorized channel dimensions in on the Crossings Above New Orleans, at the New Orleans Harbor and in Southwest Pass. The channel in SWP has been restored, a contract to dredge the New Orleans Harbor has been awarded, but the Crossings will require additional dredging and are expected to utilize the funding received through the Work Plan.
  1. $20 million for Jetty Repair and Foreshore Rock at Southwest Pass, this project remainscritical and it is believed the Corps will utilize a portion of the funds received from Public Law 115-123 to perform the Emergency Rock Work in Southwest Pass.
  2. $35 million to dredge the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area, the Coalition remains concerned that this project will not be funded without receiving additional supplemental funding. The need to dredge in the HDDA remains a key component to the Corps ability to maintain the navigation channel with hopper dredges in the area of Southwest Pass.

The MVN FY 2018 Budget details are listed in the table below:

 

MVN FY 2018 O&M BUDGET: MVN FY 2018 BUDGET AMOUNTS:
President’s Budget Request $83.846 million
Public Law 115-123 $40 million
FY 2018 Work Plan $15 million
FY 2018 TOTAL BUDGETED (To Date) $138.846 million
FY 2018 REMAINING NEED $35 million

 

The details listed as the justification by the USACE for the $15 million in the FY 18 Work Plan Budget are reproduced below:

“Funds are being used for maintenance dredging to partial channel dimensions from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico (Southwest Pass, New Orleans Harbor, Crossings between Baton Rouge and New Orleans), channel surveys, salt water barrier sill, rock protection, jetty repairs, water management, environment, and real estate. This Funds are being used only provide partial channel dimensions, restricting transit of deep- draft commercial vessels through the largest US port complex.”

The Big River Coalition will continue to monitor the potential funding limitations with the MVN and members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation. The supplemental $15 million as received in the FY 2018 Work Plan will be utilized to assist in recovering the Mississippi River Ship Channel and the balance of funding will not be sufficient to perform the intend dredging in the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area.