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, 2023. 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.
The USACE is in the process of finalizing contracts for two cutterhead dredge rental contracts, one to dredge in the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA) with Weeks Marine as the apparent low bidder and a second for a cutterhead to dredge in Southwest Pass with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock as the apparent low bidder. The USACE expects both cutterhead dredges will start dredging in September (2023). Additional details will be shared when the contracts are awarded, both cutterhead contracts will beneficially utilize the removed sediment material for marsh restoration in the vicinity of Southwest Pass.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE (Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel) completed dredging full channel dimensions at Baton Rouge Front (Mile 232 Above Head of Passes [AHP]) this morning and then commenced dredging on a shallow-draft assignment at Wilkerson Point (Mile 234.5 AHP) at 1100 hours. The dustpan dredge will resume dredging on the Crossings at Arlington Lights (Mile 228 AHP) upon completion of the assignment at Wilkerson Point. 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) continues dredging full channel dimensions at Philadelphia Crossing (Mile 183 AHP). 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.
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 over the few weeks.
MAXIMUM DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS PER PILOT ASSOCIATION:
(UPDATED BAR PILOT DRAFT INCREASE July 6, 2023)
The updated maximum draft recommendation for each Pilot Association as adjusted due to the Mississippi River Ship Channel Deepening and due the recent adjustment by the Bar Pilots are listed below. The Crescent Pilots also increased their draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) in their route on July 7, 2023. NOBRA and the Federal Pilots also revised their maximum draft recommendation to match the Bar Pilots increase to 50 feet to Smoke Bend (Mile 175 AHP).
Associated Branch Pilots of the Port of New Orleans (Bar Pilots): The Bar Pilots increased their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) on July 6, 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 returned their maximum draft recommendation to 50 feet (freshwater) from Mile 175 AHP to Mile 88 AHP on July 7, 2023. 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 to 50 feet by the other Pilot Associations.
- 50 feet from Sea Buoy to Mile 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 50 feet (freshwater) as adjusted on July 7, 2023.
Mississippi River Stages and Forecast Updates:
The Carrollton Gage (New Orleans) reading at 1700 hours today was 2.06 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.02 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 rise to
4.4 feet on August 18 [yesterday the crest was predicted to be 4.0 feet on August 17 – precipitation driven rise] and to then resume a slow fall to 2.3 feet on September 5 (2023).
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 1800 hours was 6.58 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.15 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 projected to crest at 11.0 feet on August 16 [yesterday’s forecast predicted a crest of 10.1 feet on the same date] and will then begin a slow fall to 5.1 feet on September 5 (2023).