The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) completed the Phase 1 dredging for the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) to 50 feet on May 7, 2021. The Phase 1 section of the Ship Channel extends from Venice at Mile 13 Above Head of Passes (AHP) to Mile 22 Below Head of Passes (BHP). The USACE uncovered some depth anomalies over four utility pipelines and one utility cable that cross under the Ship Channel in this Venice Corridor between Mile 12.0 AHP to Mile 11.0 AHP. The USACE has reached out to the owners of the identified obstructions and is attempting to gain integrity on the depth of these obstructions. The USACE is working to maintain or restore at least half of the authorized channel width or the central 250 feet of the channel on the Crossings. The dustpan dredges are currently working to maintain federally authorized channel dimensions on the Crossings, which remain 45 feet deep by 500 feet wide, for now. The USACE expects to commence Phase 2 of the MRSC deepening to 50 feet on the lower Crossings over the next few weeks.
DUSTPAN DREDGES WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE continues dredging the central 250 feet of channel at Baton Rouge Front (Mile 232 AHP). The WALLACE McGEORGE is scheduled to do private work for three days at the Port of Baton Rouge and then return to dredging at Baton Rouge Front over the weekend. The dustpan began dredging on the Crossings on May 20, 2021.
JADWIN: The government dustpan continues dredging the central 250 feet of channel at Granada Crossing (Mile 204 AHP). The JADWIN dredged on the Crossings from June 24 to July 17 (2021) before being released to complete repairs. The dustpan dredge resumed dredging on the Crossings on August 1, 2021.
SPANISH PASS MARSH and RIDGE CREATION:
The dredge contractors for the Coastal Restoration Protection Authority’s Spanish Pass Marsh and Ridge Creation project, Weeks Marine, LLC will install a submerged dredge pipeline across the Mississippi River Ship Channel at Mile 9.8 Above Head of Passes (AHP). A complete closure of the Ship Channel from Mile 10.3 AHP to Mile 9.0 AHP will be implemented during a 12-hour closure to be scheduled from 0600 hours to 1800 hours tomorrow, Tuesday, August 17, 2021.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) IN THE HOPPER DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
ILLINOIS: The cutterhead dredge ILLINOIS (Great Lakes Dredge and Dock) has removed and beneficially utilized approximately 10.75 million cubic yards (mcy) of material from the HDDA under Hopper Dredge Disposal Area Cutterhead Rental Contract #1-2019. The contract includes the removal of 10 mcy in the base and the USACE recently awarded options to add an additional 2 mcy to this assignment. The project is expected to be completed by late September (2022). The material is beneficially being used in the West Bay Receiving Area through a submerged dredge pipeline that will have to be removed up completion of the project. The pipeline retrieval will require at least one complete closure of the Ship Channel in the immediate vicinity of the submerged pipeline (Mile 2.0 AHP to Mile 0 – the Head of Passes). This complete channel closure could be scheduled by the end of the month.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE UPDATES:
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 0900 hours today was 4.79 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.72 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today forecasts stages will continue an extremely slow but erratic fall to 3.1 feet on September 13 (2021).
The highest crest recorded on the Carrollton Gauge in 2021 to date is 15.44 feet at 1700 hours on April 16, 2021. The lowest stages of the year to date are presently occurring.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1000 hours today was 11.32 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.17 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 erratic fall with some quick spikes but expected to fall to 6.9 feet on September 13 (2021).