The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues active channel maintenance dredging operations on the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) on the Crossings Above New Orleans and in Southwest Pass. In response to low-water emergency conditions earlier this summer the USACE released the government dustpan dredges from the Crossings (HURLEY and JADWIN) to provide channel maintenance on the shallow draft channel above Baton Rouge. The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE was also released last week to join the effort to maintain the shallow-draft channel during this low water event. The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) will be utilized to work the Crossings in the absence of dustpan dredges, the hopper dredge allows dredging to occur without transit restrictions or the closure of White Castle Anchorage (Mile 191.1 AHP to Mile 190.4 AHP) when dredging at Alhambra Crossing (Mile 190.5 AHP).
HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS resumed dredging full channel dimensions at Granada Crossing (Mile 205 AHP) at 2042 hours on Saturday (September 16, 2023). 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. The GLENN EDWARDS will work to maintain the Crossings working downriver from Granada (Bayou Goula, Alhambra…) in absence of the dustpan dredges.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING IN THE HOPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
CAPTAIN FRANK: The USACE recently awarded Head of Passes Hopper Dredge Disposal Area Contract
#2-2022 to Weeks Marine to remove sediment from the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area (HDDA). Weeks will utilize the cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK to remove 6 million cubic yards of sediment from the HDDA to be beneficially placed in the West Bay Receiving Area. The submerged dredge pipeline installation dates remain postponed, confirmation of dates expected later this week. The normal schedule would require two days of one-way traffic followed by two non-consecutive days with daytime 12-hour (0600 hours to 1800 hours) full channel closures utilized to install the submerged dredge pipeline across the Ship Channel (east to west).
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
ALASKA: The cutterhead dredge ALASKA (Great Lakes Dredge & Dock) was recently awarded Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Contract #1-2023 to preform channel maintenance dredging in Southwest Pass. The cutterhead dredge began working on assignment from 12 BHP to Mile 15 BHP on the western side of the Ship Channel on September 12 (2023). The cutterhead will beneficially utilize the removed sediment material for marsh creation in the vicinity of Southwest Pass.
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 a temporary reduction to 49 feet by the Bar Pilots are detailed below:
Associated Branch Pilots of the Port of New Orleans (Bar Pilots): The Bar Pilots returned 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 from May 22 to July 6 (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 1100 hours today was 2.20 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.09 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 3.4 feet by September 24 and will then begin a slow fall with the lowest stage of 2.4 feet on September 30 and then reimaging at 2.5 feet until October 16 (2023).
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 1100 hours was 4.78 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.04 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 to rise to 4.9 feet tomorrow and then resume a slow fall to 3.4 feet on October 16 (2023).