The BRC released a statement in May 2018, confirming that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) had secured $40 million in supplemental funding from the total of $359 million from the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123) Initial Damage Estimates. The supplemental funding was distributed to the Operation and Maintenance account of the USACE’s Mississippi Valley New Orleans (MVN) for channel maintenance on the Mississippi River Ship Channel (Baton Rouge to the Gulf).
The MVN eventually received an additional $35 million in supplemental funding from Public Law 115-123. The Big River Coalition began advocating for a total need of $90 million in supplemental funding in early 2018. The Coalition knew that substantial additional funding would be needed to restore the Mississippi River Ship Channel, because of the impact of the high river conditions that led to the twelfth historic opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway on March 8, 2018.
The updated notice and the original notice are both attached for a complete breakdown on the supplemental funding received by MVN to maintain the Mississippi River Ship Channel in Fiscal Year 2018.
RE: USACE SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING PUBLIC LAW 115-123
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently released $40 million of the $359 million from the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-123) Initial Damage Estimates to the Operation and Maintenance account of the USACE’s Mississippi Valley New Orleans (MVN) for the Mississippi River Ship Channel (Baton Rouge to the Gulf).
Prior to release of the Public Law 115-123 funds ($40 million), the Coalition was advocating for $90 million in supplemental funding based on the inadequate amount of the Fiscal Year 2018 President’s Budget request ($83.846 million) and the estimated need to perform restorative channel maintenance on the Mississippi River Ship Channel. The estimated breakdown for the approximated amount of $90 million was attributable to the following three areas.
- $35 million: to dredge the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) with the breakdown of funds to be used to extend hopper dredging in Southwest Pass, fund the three dustpan dredges needed to restore authorized dimensions on the Crossings Above New Orleans, fund the Readiness Exercises for the Corps’ hopper dredge WHEELER and secure a cutterhead dredge for New Orleans Harbor.
- $20 million: to perform Jetty Repair and Foreshore Rock at Southwest Pass, restoration is critical in several locations.
- $35 million: to dredge the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area.
Based on the receipt of the $40 million in supplemental funding the Coalition estimates that the MVN needs an additional $50 million to completely fund channel maintenance on the Mississippi River Ship Channel in FY 2018 as described above.
The Coalition will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for this supplemental amount needed to recover the channel after the extensive high water period of 2018. The channel remains deficient in the area of Southwest Pass with the three Pilot Associations responsible for vessel movements in this reach of the MRSC recommending a controlling draft of 44 feet (freshwater).