The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues working to restore the deficient reaches of the Mississippi River Ship Channel with two industry hopper dredges, a government hopper dredge and one industry cutterhead dredge. The industry hopper dredges GLENN EDWARDS and NEWPORT, the government hopper dredge WHEELER and the cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK are all working in the area of Southwest Pass. The cutterhead dredge E.W. ELLEFSEN (Weeks Marine) has departed the assignment in the Hopper Dredge Disposal Area at the Head of Passes.
The MVN received four bids to the advertisement of Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract No. #3-2020 on April 21, 2020 – this advertisement was for a large hopper dredge to arrive in January 2021. The bids received remain under review, additional details to follow. The MVN will hold a bid opening for Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract No. #5-2020 on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 for a hopper dredge to commence dredging in Southwest Pass by May 20, 2020.
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 Crescent River Port Pilots Association’s maximum freshwater draft was reduced to 42 feet on April 8, 2020. 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.
HOPPER DREDGE(S) IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
GLENN EDWARDS: The GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) is dredging on assignment from Mile 3.5 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to Mile 1.0 AHP. The GLENN EDWARDS began dredging in Southwest Pass on March 20, 2020 under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #13-2019.
NEWPORT: The hopper dredge NEWPORT (Manson Construction) is dredging on assignment in the area of the Head of Passes (Mile 1.0 AHP to Mile 2.0 Below Head of Passes [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 is dredging on assignment at the Jetty End of SWP (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):
CAPTAIN FRANK: Weeks Marine’s cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK is dredging at Mile 5.71 BHP and working on assignment from Mile 4.9 BHP to Mile 6.3 BHP on the western 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):
E.W. ELLEFSEN: The cutterhead dredge E.W. ELLEFSEN (Weeks Marine) ceased dredging operations at the HDDA project at 2400 hours on Saturday, April 25, 2020. The cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK will resume dredging on this project is to beneficially place the material in the Pass A’ Loutre Wildlife Management Area (PALWMA) upon completion of dredging in Southwest Pass. The cutterhead dredges have now removed and beneficially utilized approximately 13.10 million cubic yards (mcy) of material from the HDDA and restored roughly 1,048 acres. Supplemental funding allowed the MVN to increase the amount of material to be removed from the HDDA to a total of 15.075 mcy. 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 16.87 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.01 feet.
The Bonnet Carré Gauge (Mile 126.9 AHP) reading at 1400 hours today was 21.29 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.10 feet.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1500 hours today was 42.22 feet, with a 24-hour change of – 0.31 feet.
Long range forecasts now predict the Carrollton Gauge will continue a slow fall from 16.73 feet today to 12.8 feet on May 25th. The forecast at New Orleans continues to be influenced by the operation of the Bonnet Carré Spillway, although the MVN expects to completely close the Spillway structure by Friday, May 1, 2020.