The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues working to restore channel conditions on the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) since the passing of Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Ida made landfall at approximately 1200 hours on August 29. 2021 at Port Fourchon, on the sixteenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s assault on the area. The USACE has been actively surveying the Ship Channel and has deployed dredges back to their current assignments. The dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE is working full channel dimensions at Red Eye Crossing, which remain 45 feet deep by 500 feet wide, for now.
The USACE expects to commence Phase 2 of the MRSC deepening to 50 feet at Fairview Crossing (Mile 115 AHP) in late September.
DUSTPAN DREDGES WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE continues dredging full channel dimensions at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224 Above Head of Passes [AHP]). The dustpan began dredging on the Crossings on May 20, 2021, then sought safe harbor from Hurricane Ida on August 28 and returned to work at Red Eye Crossing on September 2, 2021.
JADWIN: The government dustpan dredge JADWIN was sent from Medora Crossing (Mile 212 AHP) to perform emergency dredging on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) after Hurricane Ida impacted the area. The JADWIN is expected to resume dredging the central 250 feet of channel at Belmont Crossing (Mile 154 AHP) shortly. The JADWIN began dredging on the Crossings on June 24, 2021, then sought safe harbor from Hurricane Ida on August 28 and is expected to resume dredging at Belmont Crossing later today.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
ILLINOIS: The cutterhead dredge ILLINOIS (Great Lakes Dredge and Dock) sought safe harbor from the approach of Hurricane Ida and resumed dredging in the HDDA yesterday (September 6, 2021). The cutterhead has about three days of work left on the HDDA contract. The ILLINOIS has removed and beneficially utilized approximately 11.25 million cubic yards (mcy) of material from the HDDA under Hopper Dredge Disposal Area Cutterhead Rental Contract #1-2019. Two full channel closures to remove the submerged dredge pipeline will be required after the contract is completed.
The submerged dredge pipeline removal will require two 12-hours full channel closures from Mile 2 Above Head of Passes to Mile 0 (Head of Passes) no tentative dates have been proposed. The contractor hopes to remove the dredge pipeline over the next two weeks. The HDDA contract detailed the removal of 10 mcy in the base and the USACE recently awarded an option to add an additional 2 mcy to this assignment. The material is beneficially being used in the West Bay Receiving Area through the submerged dredge pipeline that will be removed upon completion of the project as detailed above.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s previously issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) on the pipeline removal operations is attached and notes the possible rescheduling.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGES DRIVEN BY HURRICANE IDA:
Saturday August 28, 2021 at 1400 hours the Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading was 4.72 feet (pre-Hurricane Ida storm surge).
Sunday August 29, 2021 at 1400 hours the Carrollton Gauge crested at 11.36 feet, driven by precipitation and coastal surge from Hurricane Ida.
Monday, August 30, 2021 at 1400 hours the Carrollton Gauge reading was 6.23 feet as the storm surge began to recede.
Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at 1400 hours the Carrollton Gauge reading was 4.93 feet as the coastal surge and related precipitation receded and stages returned to pre-Ida levels.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE UPDATES:
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 0900 hours today was 3.63 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.14 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today forecasts stages will slowly rise to 5.3 by September 15th and then begin a slow fall to 2.5 feet on October 5 (2021). The highest crest recorded on the Carrollton Gauge in 2021 to date is 15.44 feet at 1700 hours on April 16, 2021.
The Carrollton Gauge coastal surge crest attributed to the precipitation and coastal storm surge from Hurricane Ida was recorded with a reading of 11.36 feet at 1400 hours on Sunday, August 29, 2021.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1015 hours was 10.92 feet, the 24-hour feature was unavailable. The coastal surge crest recorded at Baton Rouge driven by Hurricane Ida was 17.35 feet at 0200 hours on August 30, 2021. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Baton Rouge Gauge issued today forecasts stages will slowly rise to 15.5 feet on September 15th and then begin a slow fall down to 8.4 feet on October 5 (2021).