The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues channel maintenance dredging efforts for the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) on the Crossings Above New Orleans and in Southwest Pass. The dustpan dredges are working to restore the central 250 feet of channel (half authorized width) to authorized depths, 48 feet in Low Water Reference Plane (LWRP) above Mile 175 AHP and 53 feet LWRP below Mile 175 AHP. The Associated Branch Pilots (Bar Pilots) reduced their maximum draft recommendation to 49 feet (freshwater) on May 22, 2023 (official notice attached). The USACE has adjusted hopper dredge assignments to focus on areas of shoaling impacting the Bar Pilots at the Head of Passes. The river stages are forecast to continue a steady fall, the next few weeks will be a critical time for channel maintenance.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
HURLEY: The USACE dustpan dredge continues working to restore the central 250 feet of the Ship Channel at Sardine Point (Mile 219 AHP) to 48 feet (Low Water Reference Plane – LWRP). The HURLEY is expected to move downriver to Medora Crossing (Mile 212 AHP) over the weekend. The HURLEY began dredging at Red Eye Crossing on May 22, 2023.
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge (Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel) has completed the assignment at Alhambra Crossing (Mile 190.5 AHP) and is moving upriver to begin dredging the central 250 feet of channel at Bayou Goula Crossing (Mile 197.8 AHP). The White Castle Anchorage (Mile 191.1 AHP to Mile 190.4 AHP) is once again available for normal vessel and was off limits from May 23 to June 2 (2023). The dustpan dredge began dredging on the Crossings on May 24, 2023.
JADWIN: The USACE dustpan dredge JADWIN was released temporarily to attend to dredging assignments on the Atchafalaya River (Port of Morgan City). The JADWIN is expected to resume dredging on the Crossings later this month and could be called back earlier to address shoaling on the Crossings due to the impact of low river stages.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING IN THE NEW ORLEANS HARBOR:
CAPTAIN FRANK: The industry cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK continues working on assignment in the New Orleans Harbor and is presently working in the vicinity of Nashville Avenue Wharf. The N.O. Harbor contract is expected to be completed over the weekend.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
PADRE ISLAND: The industry hopper dredge PADRE ISLAND (Great Lakes Dredge & Dock) is dredging on assignment at the Head of Passes (Mile 2.2 AHP to Mile 1.0 BHP). The PADRE ISLAND began working on the Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2022 on May 30, 2023. The two Great Lakes hopper dredges are working on Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2022, the second of two early award contracts.
DODGE ISLAND: The industry hopper dredge DODGE ISLAND (Great Lakes Dredge & Dock) is dredging from Mile 1.0 BHP to Mile 3.8 BHP. The hopper dredge began work under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2022 on March 28 (2023).
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) is presently undergoing repairs and is expected to return to SWP in approximately one month. The GLENN EDWARDS has been working under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #1-2022 a Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 23) the first early award hopper dredge rental contract for FY 2023.
MAXIMUM DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS PER PILOT ASSOCIATION:
(UPDATED BAR PILOT DRAFT REDUCTION May 22, 2023)
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 have reduced their maximum draft recommendation to 49 feet (freshwater) effective on May 22, 2023. The Bar Pilots had increased their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) on March 16, 2022, prior to this reduction.
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 Association (NOBRA): The NOBRA raised their maximum draft to 50 feet (freshwater) from Mile 175 AHP to Mile 88 AHP on March 7, 2023. NOBRA has previously limited the maximum draft recommendation to 49 feet from Mile 175 AHP to Mile 106 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:
- 49 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 175 AHP (Smoke Bend) to the Southwest Pass Sea Buoy is 49 feet (freshwater) as adjusted on May 22, 2023.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE UPDATES:
The Carrollton Gage (New Orleans) reading at 0800 hours today was 6.81 feet the 24-hour change information was unavailable (estimated at – 0.24 feet by author).
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 steadily fall to 3.6 feet on June 30 (2023).
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 0900 hours was 19.58 feet with a 24-hour change of – 1.17 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 fall to 12.4 feet on June 30 (2023).