The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) completed channel maintenance dredging efforts on the Crossings Above New Orleans for Fiscal Year 2022 on November 21, 2022. The Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA) project dredge contract removed approximately 4 million cubic yards (mcy) of material from the HDDA (320 acres restored – estimated). Weeks Marine completed the project and removed the submerged HDDA dredge pipeline from underneath the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) in a full channel closure on January 17, 2023.
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 maximum draft recommendation on the Ship Channel was increased to 50 feet (freshwater) from the Huey P. Long Bridge (Mile 106 AHP) to the jetty end of Southwest Pass (Mile 20 Below Head of Passes [BHP]) on July 20, 2022. The maximum draft north of the Huey P. Long remains 49 feet to Mile 175 AHP, the channel above Mile 175 AHP is expected to be mechanically deepened in Phases 3-5 (estimated) by 2025.
HOPPER DREDGE WORKING AT THE HEAD OF PASSES:
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) continues dredging the Head of Passes channel (Pilottown Mile 2.0 Above Head of Passes [AHP] to Mile 1.0 Below Head of Passes [BHP]). The GLENN EDWARDS is working under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2021 and will complete the hours left on this contract over the next few weeks and will then begin work under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #1-2022 an early award hopper dredge rental contract.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock was awarded the second FY 23 early award hopper contract and expects to fulfill Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2022 with either the DODGE ISLAND or PADRE ISLAND. Great Lakes expects to start work in late March 2023. The USACE hopper dredge WHEELER continues undergoing repairs but is scheduled for Southwest Pass Readiness Exercise #1-2023 from February 23 to March 8 (2023). There should be three working hopper dredges in Southwest Pass in March river stage impact to be seen channel in good shape in today’s conditions.
MAXIMUM DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS PER PILOT ASSOCIATION:
(No Adjustments Since July 2022 as noted below)
The updated maximum draft recommendation for each Pilot Association as adjusted due to the Mississippi River Ship Channel Deepening are listed below:
Associated Branch Pilots of the Port of New Orleans (Bar Pilots): The Bar Pilots increased their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) on March 16, 2022.
Crescent River Port Pilots Association (CRPPA): The CPPRA raised their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) on July 20, 2022.
New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots (NOBRA): The NOBRA raised their maximum draft to 49 feet (freshwater) from Mile 88 AHP to Mile 175 AHP on July 13, 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 recommendations to the following on July 21, 2022:
- 50 feet from Sea Buoy to Mile 104.7 AHP
- 49 feet from Mile 104.7 AHP to 175 AHP
- 45 feet Mile 175 AHP to 232.4 AHP
- 40 feet Mile 232.4 AHP to 233.8 AHP
The controlling maximum freshwater draft for the MRSC from Mile 106 AHP (Huey P. Long) to the Southwest Pass Sea Buoy is now set at 50 feet (freshwater). The maximum draft decreases to 49 feet from the Port of New Orleans to Mile 175 AHP (Smoke Bend) until additional channel modifications are made.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE UPDATES:
The Carrollton Gage (New Orleans) reading at 1300 hours today was 7.97 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.26 feet. (Indications a higher crest may be included
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gage issued today forecasts stages will continue a slow rise to 9.2 feet on February 6 and will then begin a low fall to 6.0 feet on March 2 (2023).
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 1400 hours was 25.36 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.61 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 to 26.2 feet on February 5 and then begin a slow fall to 19.0 feet on March 2 (2023).