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 river stages are predicted to continue to steadily fall and low water conditions are expected to continue across the Mississippi River Basin.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
HURLEY: The USACE dustpan dredge continues dredging the central 250 feet of the Ship Channel at Baton Rouge Front (Mile 212 AHP). The HURLEY began dredging on the Crossings on May 22, 2023.
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge (Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel) continues dredging at Alhambra Crossing (Mile 191 AHP). The White Castle Anchorage (Mile 191.1 AHP to Mile 190.4 AHP) is unavailable for vessel usage while the WALLACE McGEORGE is dredging at Alhambra Crossing, this assignment is expected to last approximately ten more days. 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 head upriver to the Redmond Bar (Mile 740 AHP) to help dredge portions of the shallow-draft channel during ongoing low water conditions.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE WORKING IN THE NEW ORLEANS HARBOR:
CAPTAIN FRANK: The industry cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK continues dredging on assignment near the Julia Street Cruise Terminal in the New Orleans Harbor.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
PADRE ISLAND: The industry hopper dredge PADRE ISLAND (Great Lakes Dredge & Dock) continues 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 at Cubits Gap (Mile 3.6 AHP to Mile 2.2 AHP). The hopper dredge began work under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2022 on March 28 (2023).
WHEELER: The USACE hopper dredge WHEELER is working on assignment in SWP from Mile 3.7 BHP to Mile 6.7 BHP, the WHEELER is working under Readiness Exercise #5-2023 (final).
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) is undergoing repairs but is expected to return to SWP by early July. The GLENN EDWARDS is 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 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.
The Carrollton Gage (New Orleans) reading at 1400 hours today was 3.95 feet 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 Gage issued today forecasts stages will continue to erratically fall to 3.0feet on July 12 (2023).
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 1500 hours was 10.50 feet the 24-hour change of – 0.27 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 slowly fall to 9.2 feet on July 12 (2023).