The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues working to restore the deficient reaches of the Mississippi River Ship Channel with two industry cutterhead dredges, two industry hopper dredges and a government hopper dredge. The cutterhead dredges CAPTAIN FRANK and E.W. ELLEFSEN, hopper dredges GLENN EDWARDS and NEWPORT, and the government hopper dredge WHEELER are all working in the area of Southwest Pass.
The MVN did not receive any bids in response to the advertisement of Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #4-2020 earlier today. The MVN has started the Emergency Protocol that initiates the post no bid discussion with the hopper dredge contractors, the first phase of the Emergency Protocol is the Yellow Flag stage (2nd is the Red Flag). The MVN has requested viable options to secure an additional hopper dredge and for dredge contractor proposals to be offered by 1600 hours tomorrow.
SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP) TRANSIT RESTRICTIONS:
The Bar Pilots and Federal Pilots reduced their maximum draft recommendation to 42 feet (freshwater) on February 1, 2020. The Bar Pilots have reported an area of shoaling on the jetty end where the WHEELER is working, but are holding at 42 feet for now, the maximum draft recommendation could change quickly. The maximum draft recommendation of 42 feet freshwater remains in place for all vessels transiting Southwest Pass and represents the controlling draft for the Mississippi River Ship Channel.
The Crescent River Port Pilots Association’s maximum freshwater draft of 46 feet remains in effect as implemented on February 7, 2020. The Crescent Pilots reduction is based on shoaling in their route mainly in the area of Cubits Gap.
Long range forecasts now predict an artificially controlled crest on the Carrollton Gauge of 17.00 feet due to the operation of the Bonnet Carré Spillway. The MVN will divert the flow exceeding the trigger point of 1.25 million cubic feet per second into Lake Pontchartrain via the Bonnet Carré Spillway. The MVN expects the maximum flow to occur between April 12th and April 13th. The MVN planned to open 25 bays at the Spillway today, that would bring the total of open bays to 45.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
GLENN EDWARDS: The GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) was moved to work a shoal in the area of Cubits Gap (Mile 4 Above Head of Passes [AHP] to Mile 2.5 AHP) once this shoal is removed the hopper dredge will return to assignment at the Head of Passes (Mile 1.2 AHP to Mile 1.0 Below Head of Passes [BHP]) under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #13-2019. The GLENN EDWARDS began dredging in Southwest Pass on March 20, 2020.
NEWPORT: The hopper dredge NEWPORT (Manson Construction) is dredging on assignment from Mile 4.5 BHP to Mile 5.0 BHP. The NEWPORT is dredging under the Gulf Coast Regional Hopper Dredge Contract 2020. The NEWPORT began dredging under the first Gulf Coast Regional Hopper Dredge Contract 2020 on February 1, 2020.
GOVERNMENT HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
WHEELER: The USACE’s hopper dredge WHEELER continues dredging on the Jetty End of SWP from Mile 18.2 BHP to Mile 19.5 BHP. The WHEELER’s usage is approved under Red Flag Emergency Callout #1-2020 for 60 days of utilization in response to not receiving any bids to Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020 (February 6, 2020). The WHEELER began dredging in Southwest Pass on March 28, 2020.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE AREA OF SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
E.W. ELLEFSEN: The cutterhead dredge E.W. ELLEFSEN (Weeks Marine) has ceased dredging to clear a path to allow the GLENN EDWARDS to work the shoal on the eastside of Cubits Gap. The cutterhead will resume dredging on assignment in the area of the West Bay Diversion from Mile 4.5 AHP to Mile 2.7 AHP (western side) once the GLENN EDWARDS returns to the Head of Passes. The cutterhead dredge began dredging in SWP on February 4, 2020 utilizing hours left over from New Orleans Harbor Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #3-2019.
CAPTAIN FRANK: Weeks Marine’s cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK is dredging at Mile 8.18 BHP and working on assignment from Mile 6.8 BHP to Mile 8.2 BHP on the eastern side of the channel. The cutterhead commenced dredging in Southwest Pass on January 24, 2020 under Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #3-2019.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
CAPTAIN FRANK: The cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK (Weeks Marine) will return to the HDDA project to beneficially place material in the Pass A’ Loutre Wildlife Management Area (PALWMA) upon completion of the contract for SWP. The cutterhead dredges have already beneficially utilized approximately 13 mcy of material from the HDDA and restored roughly 1,040 acres. When this project is completed later this year, approximately 1,200 acres will have been restored in the PALWMA.
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1400 hours today was 16.66 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.19 feet. (There are now 45 bays open at the Bonnet Carré Spillway which explains the stage reduction.)
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 0800 hours today was 42.20 feet, the 24-hour change feature was unavailable.
The Red River Landing Gauge reading at 1400 hours today was 59.61 feet, with a 24-hour change of + 0.32 feet. [Added to show the increased stage level above the Bonnet Carré Spillway.]