LAMA’s report on the Corps’ Mississippi River Maintenance Forum meeting earlier today(Wednesday, February 6, 2019) and the corresponding agenda are attached.

There were considerable discussions at today’s meeting about problems related to the persistent “black-out fog” impacting normal dredging and the ability of the Corps to complete channel surveys.  

The undersigned is positive that the Corps is doing everything possible, under challengeing conditions, to maintain the Mississippi River Ship Channel.    

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.

The following message is reproduced as distributed earlier by Captain Branch:


Fog continues to affect navigation on the LMR.  SWP continues to be ’socked in’.

Forecasts indicate fog will continue to affect navigation on the LMR for the next several days.

The fog has shutdown USACE dredging and survey operations for a couple of days.

Accordingly, areas of known shoaling where dredging was taking place have not been dredged.

And without current surveys, there is uncertainty of actual water depths.

Added to this, shipping on the LMR remains at high levels with available anchorage and dock space limited.

Given these factors, the Pilots are planning the following operations:

1.  There is no change in the current draft restrictions.

·         CRPPA Draft Restriction – 45’ Suggested Maximum Draft/One- Way Traffic – (Click here).

  • BAR Pilot – SWP Draft Restriction – 44’ Recommended Maximum Freshwater Draft From SWP Sea Buoy to MM 1.5 AHOP – (Click here)

2.  Priority is to move vessels ready to sail first to make room in anchorages and at docks/terminals.

3.  Vessels drafting under 41’ will sail first.

4.  Then once pilots on those vessels confirm there are no issues, pilots will begin taking deeper draft vessels. 

That is the plan at this time.

More information will be provided as received.”

Please review the attachments for complete details.

Forum meeting notes 2619



The Corps’ Mississippi Valley New Orleans (MVN) holds monthly meetings to discuss channel conditions and related issues directly with the maritime industry. These meetings are usually scheduled for 0900 hours on the first Wednesday of the month. LAMA encourages our members to attend these meetings, which are open to the public (with advanced notice of attendance). The agenda for this meeting as provided by the MVN is attached.

1) Introductions

2) Southeast Waterways Update:Maintenance Forum Notes February 6, 2019

Tiger Pass: The MVN was recently able to update surveys covering the majority of Tiger Pass on January 30, 2019, the channel surveys could not be completed because of the extreme shoaling on the jetty end. The Corps utilized survey data and calculations to approximate that a total of 3.2 million cubic yards (mcy) of material had accumulated in the shallow-draft channel. The MVN was recently awarded $9.5 million for dredging in Tiger Pass in the Corps Fiscal Year 2019 Work Plan. The funding will be used to restore as much of the channel to authorized dimensions as possible, attempts will be made to perform non-traditional methods to survey Sheet 6. The Corps expects to begin dredging late in Fiscal Year 2019.

Baptiste Collette: The Corps previously received $13.9 million in supplemental funding to perform dredging operations ($6.5 million) and rock work to fortify the jetties and channel boundaries ($7.4 million). The MVN performed channel surveys on November 16, 2018 that indicated 2 mcy of material had shoaled in since the previous survey. The MVN was also awarded an additional $3 million in the Corps Fiscal Year 2019 Work Plan and is working to properly prepare for a cutterhead dredge contract to restore full channel dimensions with work expected to begin in mid 2019. The MVN also intends to issue a contract for the rock work and expects those operations to commence in the first half of 2019. The Baptiste Collette foreshore rock channel borders will be repaired along with the jetties, the jetties could also be extended.

3) Mississippi River Conditions Update:

Current Stage New Orleans: 14.4 feet
* Projected to reach 12.4 feet on March 5, 2019.
Although, longterm forecasts hint at the potential of another rise.

Current Stage Baton Rouge: 36.7 feet
* Projected to reach 29.2 feet on March 5, 2019.
Although, longterm forecasts hint at the potential of another rise.

* NOTE: The long-term Stage Forecasts are attached and based only on future rainfall over the next 48-hours only.

A. Crossings Between Baton Rouge and New Orleans:

The latest surveys for the Crossings are included in the attached agenda. The surveys indicate the Crossings are in decent shape based on the elevated river stages. However, several of the Crossings have up to 25 feet of shoal material that will have to be removed when the stages recede.

B. New Orleans Harbor:

The Port of New Orleans reported no concerns at this time based on the latest surveys and high river stages. However, the MVN advised it does not have sufficient funding to dredge the New Orleans Harbor when the stages do recede unless it receives supplemental funding.

C. Southwest Pass (SWP):

The MVN continues to work the government hopper dredges WHEELER and McFARLAND under Red Flag Emergency Callouts and the industry hopper dredge NEWPORT in the area of Southwest Pass. The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS is being repaired in Mobile (AL) but expected to return to dredging by the weekend. The dredges and Corps survey boats have been unable to work due to the severe fog that has impacted the area the last few days. The dredges are working known historic areas of shoaling (Venice Jump, Cubits Gap and the Head of Passes) when the fog recedes, the Corps must wait until the weather changes to perform comprehensive channel surveys and to ensure the dredges are dispatched to the areas of the worst shoaling. The last set of complete (nearly complete) channel surveys was completed on February 1st.

The industry cutterhead dredge R.S. WEEKS continues working on assignment from Mile 5 Below Head of Passes (BHP) to Mile 6.1 BHP and is also being hampered by the black out fog conditions. The cutterhead will move upriver to a new assignment from Mile 1 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to Mile 2 BHP on the western channel edge upon completeion of the present assignment.

D. Head of Passes, Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA):

The R.S. WEEKS previously removed approximately 2.5 mcy of material from the HDDA before moving to dredge in SWP on December 15, 2018. The R.S. WEEKS will resume the HDDA project upon completeion of the assignment from Mile 1 AHP to Mile 2 BHP.

E. Southwest Pass Stone Foreshore Dike & Jetty Repair:

A contract was awarded to EFT Diversified, Inc. on July 16, 2018 to make repairs to the foreshore rocks and the jetties that protect the deep-draft channel in Southwest Pass. The rock placement operations continue put have also been hampered by the recurrent fog, the contractor coninutes to work closely with the Pilot Associations to assist in maintaining navigational safety.

6) Next Meeting:

The next Forum meeting is scheduled for 0900 hours on March 13, 2019, at the MVN District Assembly Room A.

Corps Forum Agenda Notes