The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues channel maintenance dredging in Southwest Pass and on the Crossings Above New Orleans (Fiscal Year 2022). 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 deepened up to Smoke Bend at Mile 175 Above Head of Passes (AHP). The USACE reports that the dredges on the Crossings are being impacted by elevated river stages, severe shoaling and heavy vessel traffic.
DUSTPAN DREDGES WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
HURLEY: The dustpan dredge HURLEY continues dredging on assignment at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224 AHP) and is working to maintain or restore the central 300 feet (full channel width is 500 feet). The HURLEY commenced dredging on the Crossings on May 28, 2022.
WALLACE McGEORGE: The dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE continues dredging full channel dimensions at Alhambra Crossing (Mile 192 AHP). The WALLACE McGEORGE commenced dredging on the Crossings on May 10, 2022.
The NOBRA and Federal Pilots will continue to keep the White Castle Anchorage (Mile 191.1 AHP to Mile 190.4 AHP) off limits for vessels usage while Alhambra Crossing is being dredged. The assignment at Alhambra is expected to last approximately two more 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 completed dredging full channel dimensions at Belmont Crossing (Mile 154 AHP) yesterday and moved downriver to Fairview Crossing (Mile 116 AHP). The JADWIN commenced dredging full channel dimensions (500 feet by 53 feet) at Fairview Crossing at 1900 hours on June 13, 2022. The JADWIN commenced dredging on the Crossings on May 26, 2022.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) is dredging on assignment from Mile 3.5 Below Head of Passes (BHP) to Mile 6.5 BHP. The GLENN EDWARDS is working under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2021, this contract is expected to be completed in early September (2022).
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 1200 hours today was 10.14 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.07 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 remain steady the next few days and then begin a slow fall down to 7.7 feet on July 12 (2022). 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 1300 hours was 28.23 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.13 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 steadily fall to 20.9 feet on July 12 (2022).