The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues working to restore the deficient reaches of the Mississippi River Ship Channel with two industry hopper dredges, a government hopper dredge and one industry cutterhead dredge. The industry hopper dredges GLENN EDWARDS and NEWPORT, the government hopper dredge WHEELER and the cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK are all working in the area of Southwest Pass.
The MVN did not receive any bids in response to the advertisement of Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #4-2020 on April 7, 2020. The first phase of the Emergency Protocol is the Yellow Flag stage (2nd is the Red Flag). The MVN continues to seek a resolution through the Yellow Flag process to secure a much-needed hopper dredge, the river stages are expected to remain elevated near 17.00 feet at New Orleans and to then begin a slow fall.
SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP) TRANSIT RESTRICTIONS:
The Bar Pilots and Federal Pilots reduced their maximum draft recommendation to 42 feet (freshwater) on February 1, 2020. The Crescent River Port Pilots Association’s maximum freshwater draft was reduced to 42 feet on April 8, 2020. The maximum draft recommendation of 42 feet freshwater remains in place for all vessels transiting Southwest Pass and represents the controlling draft for the Mississippi River Ship Channel.
Long range forecasts continue to predict the artificially controlled crest on the Carrollton Gauge in the range of 17.00 feet due to the operation of the Bonnet Carré Spillway. The MVN has now begun closing bays on the Spillway after opening a total of 90 bays and the stage level is expected to begin a slow fall and to be below 17.00 feet on April 19th.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
GLENN EDWARDS: The GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) is dredging on assignment in the area of Cubits Gap (Mile 4.0 Above Head of Passes [AHP] to Mile 2.5 AHP). The GLENN EDWARDS began dredging in Southwest Pass on March 20, 2020 under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #13-2019.
NEWPORT: The hopper dredge NEWPORT (Manson Construction) is dredging on assignment at the Head of Passes (Mile 1.0 AHP to Mile 1.25 Below Head of Passes [BHP]). The NEWPORT is dredging under the Gulf Coast Regional Hopper Dredge Contract 2020. The NEWPORT began dredging under the first Gulf Coast Regional Hopper Dredge Contract 2020 on February 1, 2020.
GOVERNMENT HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
WHEELER: The USACE’s hopper dredge WHEELER continues dredging on the Jetty End of SWP from Mile 18.2 BHP to Mile 19.5 BHP. The WHEELER’s usage is approved under Red Flag Emergency Callout #1-2020 for 60 days of utilization in response to not receiving any bids to Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020 (February 6, 2020). The WHEELER began dredging in Southwest Pass on March 28, 2020.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE AREA OF SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
CAPTAIN FRANK: Weeks Marine’s cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK is dredging at Mile 5.26 BHP and working on assignment from Mile 4.9 BHP to Mile 6.3 BHP on the western side of the channel. The cutterhead commenced dredging in Southwest Pass on January 24, 2020 under Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #3-2019.
E.W. ELLEFSEN: The cutterhead dredge E.W. ELLEFSEN (Weeks Marine) completed work under New Orleans Harbor Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #3-2019 earlier today. The cutterhead dredge began dredging in SWP on February 4, 2020 utilizing hours left over from the New Orleans Harbor contract.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
CAPTAIN FRANK: The cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK (Weeks Marine) will return to the HDDA project to beneficially place material in the Pass A’ Loutre Wildlife Management Area (PALWMA) upon completion of the contract for SWP. The cutterhead dredges have already beneficially utilized approximately 13 mcy of material from the HDDA and restored roughly 1,040 acres. When this project is completed later this year, approximately 1,200 acres will have been restored in the PALWMA.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1600 hours today was 17.05 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.16 feet. (There are now 80 bays open at the Bonnet Carré Spillway which explains the stage reduction.)
The Red River Landing Gauge (Mile 302.4 AHP) reading at 1600 hours today was 60.91 feet, with a 24-hour change of + 0.10 feet. [Added to show the increased stage level above the Bonnet Carré Spillway.]