The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues active channel maintenance dredging efforts on the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) on the Crossings Above New Orleans. The Associated Branch Pilots (Bar Pilots) increased their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) on July 6 (official notice attached). The USACE previously released two government dustpan dredges from the Crossings (HURLEY and JADWIN) to address emergency low-water conditions on the shallow draft channel above Baton Rouge.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE (Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel) continues dredging full channel dimensions at Baton Rouge Front (Mile 232 Above Head of Passes [AHP]). The dustpan dredge began dredging on the Crossings on May 24, 2023.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) completed dredging at Medora Crossing (Mile 212 AHP) this morning and commenced dredging at Smoke Bend Crossing
(Mile 175 AHP) at 1300 hours today. The GLENN EDWARDS is working under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #1-2022 a Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 23) early award hopper dredge rental contract.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE CONSTRUCTING THE SALTWATER SILL:
J.S. CHATRY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) contracted Weeks Marine to build the saltwater sill at Mile 63.8 AHP with the cutterhead dredge J.S. CHATRY. The sill is a barrier to the migration upriver of the saltwater wedge to protect freshwater intakes at approximately Mile 74 AHP. Weeks completed the barrier’s construction to the targeted elevation – 55 feet during dredging operation from July 11 to July 27 (2023). The U.S. Coast Guard removed all transit restrictions related to the sill’s construction on July 27. The USACE will continue to monitor the location of the saltwater wedge although the long-range river forecasts indicate the Carrollton Gage will remain over 2.0 feet for the next month. The forecasts suggest the saltwater wedge will remain below the sill for the time being. No further actions are anticipated but remain possible.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
GREAT LAKES DREDGE & DOCK: The industry hopper dredges DODGE ISLAND and PADRE ISLAND both dredged in SWP under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2022. This contract is the second of the two FY 23 early award contracts. The DODGE ISLAND is presently undergoing repairs and the PADRE ISLAND was released to address dredging in another USACE District. The USACE anticipates the DODGE ISLAND will return to complete the remaining hours on this contract once the repairs are completed.
MAXIMUM DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS PER PILOT ASSOCIATION:
(UPDATED BAR PILOT DRAFT INCREASE July 7, 2023)
The updated maximum draft recommendation for each Pilot Association as adjusted due to the Mississippi River Ship Channel Deepening and due to a recent adjustment by the Bar Pilots are listed below. The Crescent Pilots also increased their draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) in their route. NOBRA and the Federal Pilots also revised their maximum draft recommendation to match the Bar Pilots at 50 feet to the Huey P. Long Bridge (Mile 106.1 AHP) above Mile 106.1 the draft recommendation will remain at 49 feet until further notice.
Associated Branch Pilots of the Port of New Orleans (Bar Pilots): The Bar Pilots increased their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) effective at 1000 hours on July 7, 2023. The Bar Pilots originally increased their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) on March 16, 2022, prior to the temporary reduction on May 22, 2023.
Crescent River Port Pilots Association (CRPPA): The CPPRA raised their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) in coordination with the Bar Pilots on July 7, 2023. The CRPPA originally increased their maximum draft to 50 feet (freshwater) on July 20.
New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association (NOBRA): The NOBRA raised their maximum draft to 50 feet (freshwater) on July 7, 2023, from the Huey P. Long Bridge (Mile 106 AHP) to Mile 88 AHP. NOBRA will maintain 49 feet as the maximum draft recommendation from Mile 175 AHP (Smoke Bend) to Mile 106 until further notice to allow proper review of channel surveys. 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 to match the draft adjustment by the other Pilot Associations.
- 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 50 feet (freshwater) as adjusted on July 7, 2023.
River Stages and Forecast Updates:
The Carrollton Gage (New Orleans) reading at 1300 hours today was 3.77 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.20 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 a slow fall from tomorrow’s reading predicted to be 3.0 feet (August 2) and to then to resume a slow fall to 2.0 feet on August 29 (2023).
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 1400 hours was 9.09 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.54 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 fall from tomorrow’s prediction of 8.9 feet (August 2) and then to slowly fall to 4.6 feet on August 29 (2023).