The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues channel maintenance dredging in Southwest Pass (Fiscal Year 2022). The USACE previously completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the historic project to deepen the Mississippi River Ship Channel Deepening (MRSC) to 50 Feet. The areas of the Ship Channel that required dredging to provide the deeper draft channel were mechanically dredged up to Smoke Bend at Mile 175 Above Head of Passes (AHP).
HOPPER DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) continues dredging on assignment from Mile 8.7 Below Head of Passes (BHP) to Mile 9.1 BHP under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #3-2020. The dredge is expected to complete this contract in March (2022). The GLENN EDWARDS will then commence work under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #2-2021 that should keep it in SWP until late August (2022). The GLENN EDWARDS resumed (#3-2020) in SWP on January 13, 2022.
TERRAPIN ISLAND: The industry hopper dredge TERRAPIN ISLAND (Great Lakes Dredge & Dock) is expected to start work under Southwest Pass Hopper Dredge Rental Contract #1-2021 later this month February (2022).
WHEELER: The USACE hopper dredge WHEELER worked in SWP under Readiness Exercise #2-2022 from January 25 to February 9 (2022).
The USACE was able to award two “Early Award” contracts in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) for dredging to be conducted in Fiscal Year 2022. The FY 21 contracts listed above for the TERRAPIN ISLAND and the GLENN EDWARDS are both early award contracts. The early award and regional dredging contracts allow the USACE to secure dredges for SWP in advance of shoaling with added flexibility that allows a dredge to work under contract between USACE Districts. These adjustments have proven beneficial and were implemented to reduce the negative impacts of severe shoaling that has often led to reduced maximum draft recommendations for vessels transiting Southwest Pass.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
ROBERT M. WHITE: The cutterhead dredge ROBERT M. WHITE (Manson Construction) has now completed the dredging of South Pass and is expected to resume dredging from Mile 7.0 BHP to Mile 9.0 BHP on the western channel side to complete hours related to Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Rental Contract #2-2020.
MAXIMUM DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS PER PILOT ASSOCIATION:
Based on the channel deepening project and the continued efforts to provide surveys over pipelines in two key areas of the Ship Channel (Venice Corridor and at Mile 158) the documentation of the present maximum draft recommendation for each Pilot Association is listed below:
Associated Branch Pilots of the Port of New Orleans (Bar Pilots): Based on the USACE channel surveys in mid-December 2021, the Bar Pilots increased the maximum draft recommendation for their route to 49 feet (freshwater) on December 1 7, 2021.
Crescent River Port Pilots Association (CRPPA): The CRPPA raised their maximum draft recommendation to 48 feet (freshwater) for their route on December 20, 2021.
New Orleans Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots (NOBRA): The NOBRA raised their maximum draft recommendation to 48 feet (freshwater) to Mile 150 AHP on January 11, 2022. NOBRA still recommends a maximum draft of 47 feet between Mile 150 AHP and Mile 180 AHP with 45 feet the maximum draft above Mile 180.
The controlling maximum freshwater draft for the MRSC is 48 feet up to Mile 150 AHP, until further adjustments can be made.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE UPDATES:
The Carrollton Gauge (New Orleans) reading at 1500 hours today was 4.52 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.24 feet. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service Extended Streamflow Prediction (28-Day) for the Carrollton Gauge issued today forecasts the stages to remain steady for several days and then slowly rise until cresting at 7.5 feet on February 23 and will then slowly fall to 5.0 feet on March 9, 2022.
The Baton Rouge Gauge reading at 1600 hours was 14.57 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.43 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 remain steady a few days and then crest at 24.1 on February 22 before failing to 16.4 feet on March 9, 2022.