The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues active channel maintenance dredging operations on the Mississippi River Ship Channel (MRSC) in Southwest Pass and will resume dredging on the Crossings Above New Orleans later this week. In response to low water emergency conditions early 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 temporarily released in September (2023) to join the effort to maintain the shallow-draft channel during this historic low water event. The WALLACE McGEORGE is now expected to resume dredging on the Ship Channel at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224 Above Head of Passes [AHP]) by Wednesday, October 18, 2023. The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) was utilized to work the Crossings in the absence of dustpan dredges but returned to an assignment in Southwest Pass on October 9 (2023).
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE (Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel) is working on a shallow-draft assignment at Tunica Bluff (Mile 293 AHP). The cutterhead dredge is expected to resume dredging on the Ship Channel at Red Eye Crossing by Wednesday (October 18, 2023).
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 is utilizing 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 was installed during channel closures the last week of September and started dredging operations on October 1. The removed sediment will be beneficially utilized for marsh restoration in the West Bay Receiving Area.
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
ALASKA: The cutterhead dredge ALASKA (Great Lakes Dredge & Dock) continues work under Southwest Pass Cutterhead Dredge Contract #1-2023 for channel maintenance dredging in Southwest Pass. The cutterhead dredge began working on assignment from 12 Below Head of Passes (BHP) to Mile 17 BHP on the western side of the Ship Channel on September 12 (2023). The cutterhead has dredged down to the present location at Mile 15.78 and is beneficially utilizing the removed sediment or dredged material to create new marsh in the vicinity of Southwest Pass.
HOOPER DREDGE(S) WORKING IN SOUTHWEST PASS (SWP):
GLENN EDWARDS: The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS resumed dredging in Southwest Pass on October 9 and is dredging on assignment from Mile 9.6 BHP to Mile 11.5 BHP. 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.
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 1400 hours today was 1.58 feet with a 24-hour change of – 0.37 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 remain steady between 2.7 feet and 2.4 feet until the last day of this forecast with 2.6 feet on November 13 (2023)
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 1500 hours was 4.49 feet with a 24-hour change of 0.0 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 slowly rise to 3.9 feet tomorrow with stages forecast to remain between 3.9 feet and 3.6 feet with a reading of 3.7 feet November 13 (2023), the last day of this forecast.