Lower Mississippi River (LMR) Dredging Update 62519
The Corps of Engineers Mississippi Valley New Orleans (MVN) continues responding to active shoaling in Southwest Pass (SWP) deposited by long-term high river stages (historic flood event and precipitation levels). There are only two hopper dredges working in the area of SWP (1 industry hopper and 1 government hopper) and two dustpan dredges working on the Crossings. The MVN received one bid to the advertisement of Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #11-2019 but the bid could not be awarded. The MVN will advertise Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2019 on Thursday, June 27th in an effort to secure a cutterhead dredge to respond to the severe shoaling in SWP.
TRANSIT RESTRICTIONS AT SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
- The Bar Pilots maximum draft recommendation remains at 44 feet (freshwater) as established at 1000 hours on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
- The Crescent River Port Pilots maximum draft recommendation of 44 feet (freshwater) remains as established on Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
- The Federal Pilots increased their maximum draft recommendation to 44 feet (freshwater) on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.
The President of the Bar Pilots (Associated Branch Pilots) Captain Michael Miller alerted industry members yesterday (June 24, 2019) that the channel conditions in Southwest Pass are deteriorating quickly, he also noted the impact of a “lack of dredges”. Additional draft restrictions could soon become necessary and the Bar Pilots are monitoring the Corps channel surveys and conditions closely.
INDUSTRY HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
NEWPORT: The hopper dredge NEWPORT (Manson Construction) is dredging from Mile 2.5 Below Head of Pass (BHP) to Mile 3.5 BHP. The NEWPORT completed Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #1-2019 and is dredging under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #8-2019. The NEWPORT began dredging in SWP on November 28, 2018.
STUYVESANT: The hopper dredge STUYVESANT (Dutra Group) is being processed for an updated Certificate of Inspection (Coast Guard) and is scheduled to return to dredging tomorrow (Wednesday, June 26, 2019). The STUYVESANT began working under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #10-2019 on June 14, 2019 after completing Contract #6-2019.
GOVERNMENT HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
WHEELER: MVN’s hopper dredge WHEELER began dredging at the Head of Passes from Mile 0.8 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to Mile 1.0 BHP under Red Flag Emergency Callout #5-2019 on June 3, 2019. The Red Flag was approved for 45-days and efforts continue to secure additional hopper dredges, although there is no apparent hopper dredge availability.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
R.S. WEEKS: The industry cutterhead dredge R.S. WEEKS (Weeks Marine) continues dredging in the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area and is beneficially using all material in the Pass A’Loutre Wildlife Management Area (PALWMA). The cutterhead dredged the Ship Channel (SWP) from December 15, 2018 to April 24, 2019 and began dredging in the HDDA on April 26, 2019. Approximately 4.5 million cubic yards of material have now been beneficially placed in the PALWMA from the HDDA and has restored approximately 400 acres of sensitive wildlife habitat.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
HURLEY: The Corps dustpan dredge HURLEY continues dredging operations on the central 250 feet of channel at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224 AHP). The government dustpan dredge commenced dredging on the Crossings on May 4, 2019
WALLCE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLCE McGEORGE has completed dredging operations at Bayou Goula Crossing (Mile 198 AHP) and will relocate to Medora Crossing (Mile 212 AHP) to commence dredging the central 250 feet of channel by this evening. The industry hopper dredge commenced dredging on the Crossings on May 9, 2019.
JADWIN: The Corps dustpan dredge JADWIN is expected to begin dredging at Belmont Crossing (Mile 154 AHP) by this Friday (June 28, 2019).
There are 168 open bays at the Bonnet Carré Spillway although gate closures could begin this week although high river stages are forecasted to remain for the next month or so.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 0700 hours was 16.05 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.06 feet.
The graph below is reproduced from NOAA’s National Weather Service website and represents an experimental product to account for the complexity of accurately predicting long-range precipitation. This forecast projects stage levels based on expected precipitation for 2 days (top) and 16 days (bottom) and was developed within the North American Ensemble Forecast System (NAEFS) computer model and highlights Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts (QPF). Along with the forecasts, a shaded area is also provided to indicate uncertainty for the forecast each day in the future. These plots are experimental and not an official forecast product.