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 awardable bids in response to the advertisement of Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #4-2020 on April 7, 2020. Contract #4-2020 has now been cancelled, no other potential remedy has been released as of this time. The MVN will advertise Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract No. #3-2020 on April 21, 2020 – this advertisement is to secure a large hopper dredge for arrival in January 2021.
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 now predict the artificially controlled crest on the Carrollton Gauge will remain in the range of 17.00 feet with the operation of the Bonnet Carré Spillway. The MVN opened a total of 90 bays and then closed 10 bays before recent storms extended the crest. A total of 80 bays remain open and a slow gradual fall is expected to begin by the end April, 16.7 feet predicted for April 30th.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
NEWPORT: The hopper dredge NEWPORT (Manson Construction) is dredging on assignment from Mile 2.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to Mile 1.0 AHP. 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.
GLENN EDWARDS: The GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) is dredging on assignment in the area of the Head of Passes (Mile 1.0 AHP to Mile 2.0 Below Head of Passes [BHP]). The GLENN EDWARDS began dredging in Southwest Pass on March 20, 2020 under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #13-2019.
GOVERNMENT HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
WHEELER: The USACE’s hopper dredge WHEELER is at the MVN dock in New Orleans for refueling and to address other operational matters. The hopper dredge is expected to return to dredging on the Jetty End of SWP from Mile 18.2 BHP to Mile 19.5 BHP tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 21, 2020). 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 5.63 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.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
E.W. ELLEFSEN: The cutterhead dredge E.W. ELLEFSEN (Weeks Marine) continues dredging to remove material from the HDDA and to beneficially place the material in the Pass A’ Loutre Wildlife Management Area (PALWMA). The cutterhead dredges had previously removed and beneficially utilized approximately 13 million cubic yards (mcy) of material from the HDDA and restored roughly 1,040 acres. Supplemental funding allowed the MVN to increase the amount of material to be removed from the HDDA to a total of 15.075 mcy. 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 1200 hours today was 17.11 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.09 feet. (There remain 80 bays open at the Bonnet Carré Spillway.)
The Bonnet Carré Gauge (Mile 126.9 AHP) reading at 1200 hours today was 21.81 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.13 feet.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1200 hours today was 43.59 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.18 feet.