The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues channel maintenance dredging in Southwest Pass (Fiscal Year 2022) and has commenced dredging on the Crossings. The USACE previously completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel Deepening (MRSC) to 50 Feet. The areas of the Ship Channel that required dredging to provide the deeper draft channel were mechanically dredged up to Smoke Bend at Mile 175 Above Head of Passes (AHP).
DUSTPAN DREDGES WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE continues dredging operations at Smoke Bend (Mile 175 AHP), later this week the dustpan dredge will move downriver to an assignment at Rich Bend (Mile 158.5). The assignment at Rich Bend will take a couple of days and then the dustpan will move upriver to start an assignment at Alhambra Crossing (Mile 190.5 AHP). The WALLACE McGEORGE commenced dredging on the Crossings on May 10, 2022.
The NOBRA and Federal Pilots intend to have the White Castle Anchorage (Mile 191.1 AHP to Mile 190.4 AHP) cleared of vessels by 0800 hours on Monday, May 23, 2022 and will keep the anchorage off limits until dredging operations at Alhambra are completed (estimate two weeks). The closure of the White Castle Anchorage is utilized to promote navigational safety for the dustpan dredges and vessels transiting this reach of the Ship Channel.
JADWIN: The dustpan dredge JADWIN is expected to start dredging at Belmont Crossing (Mile 154 AHP) early next week.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING IN THE AREA OF SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) is working on an unprecedented assignment from Mile 24 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to Mile 22 AHP. There is shoaling in this area related to several crevasses on the east side of the Ship Channel. This area will be targeted for bank stabilization efforts to include revetment mat placement later this fall. This area and other areas above Mile 11.0 AHP have not previously required channel maintenance (dredging) and are areas of concern that require additional funding. The GLENN EDWARDS continues is working under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2021 that will keep the hopper dredge on the MRSC until late August (2022). The GLENN EDWARDS resumed (#3-2020) in SWP on January 13, 2022.
GOVERNMENT HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING IN THE AREA OF SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
WHEELER: The USACE hopper dredge WHEELER is scheduled to dredge under the Readiness Exercise #5-2022 beginning tomorrow (May 17) until May 30 (2022), this is the last Readiness Exercise of Fiscal Year 2022.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
ROBERT M. WHITE: The cutterhead dredge ROBERT M. WHITE (Manson Construction) is dredging at Mile 15.5 Below Head of Passes (BHP) on assignment from Mile 12.2 BHP to Mile 16.0 BHP on eastern side of the Ship Channel. The USACE previously exercised contract options that extended the work under Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020.
MAXIMUM DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS PER PILOT ASSOCIATION:
Based on the channel deepening project and the continued efforts to provide surveys over pipelines in two key areas of the Ship Channel (Venice Corridor Mile 12 AHP to Mile 11 AHP and at Mile 158.2 AHP) the documentation of the present maximum draft recommendation for each Pilot Association are listed below
Associated Branch Pilots of the Port of New Orleans (Bar Pilots): The Bar Pilots increased their maximum freshwater draft to 50 feet freshwater at 1200 hours on March 16, 2022 specific to their route.
Crescent River Port Pilots Association (CRPPA): The CPPRA raised their maximum draft recommendation to 49 feet (freshwater) on Friday, February 11, 2022. The CRPPA continue to monitor channel conditions and the latest surveys to consider adjustments to the maximum draft recommendation for their route
New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots (NOBRA): The NOBRA raised their maximum draft to 48 feet (freshwater) from Mile 90.5 AHP to Mile 175 AHP on February 12, 2022. The maximum draft recommendation from Mile 175 to 180 remains 47 feet and from Mile 180 to Mile 233.8 it remains 45 feet.
Associated Federal Pilots and Docking Masters of Louisiana (Federal Pilots): The Federal Pilots increased their maximum draft recommendation on March 5, 2022 to the following:
49 feet from Sea Buoy to Mile 104.7 AHP;
48 feet from Mile 104.7 AHP to 175 AHP;
45 feet Mile 175 AHP to 232.4 AHP; and
40 feet Mile 232.4 AHP to 233.8 AHP.
The controlling maximum freshwater draft for the MRSC up to the Port of New Orleans is 49 feet, the maximum draft decreases to 48 feet from the Port of New Orleans to Mile 175.0 AHP (Smoke Bend) until additional adjustments are made.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE UPDATES:
The Carrollton Gage (New Orleans) reading at 1000 hours today was 11.73 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.16 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 continue a slow rise the few days and remain near 11.6 feet before beginning another slow fall to 9.0 feet on June 13 (2022). There is disparity in some of the latest readings based on recent precipitation levels, forecasts will auto-correct the disparity as the precipitation will be accounted for on actual gage readings. The highest crest on the Carrollton Gage in 2022 to date was 13.82 feet at 2100 hours on March 22, 2022.
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 1000 hours was 31.48 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.23 feet. 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 continue a slow rise the few days and crest at 32.3 feet (May 20) before beginning another slow fall to 24.3 feet on June 13 (2022).