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 on the Crossings Above New Orleans. 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 resumed dredging on the Ship Channel at Red Eye Crossing (Mile 224 Above Head of Passes [AHP]) on October 18, 2023. The industry hopper dredge GLENN EDWARDS (Manson Construction) was utilized to work the Crossings in the absence of dustpan dredges.
DUSTPAN DREDGE(S) WORKING ON THE CROSSINGS ABOVE NEW ORLEANS:
WALLACE McGEORGE: The industry dustpan dredge WALLACE McGEORGE (Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel) continues dredging full channel dimensions at Smoke Bend Crossing (Mile 175 AHP). The White Castle Anchorage (Mile 191.1 AHP to Mile 190.4 AHP) was reopened on November 10 after the dustpan completed the assignment at Alhambra Crossing (Mile 190.5 AHP).
CUTTERHEAD DREDGE(S) WORKING IN THE HOPPER. DREDGE DISPOSAL AREA (HDDA):
CAPTAIN FRANK: The cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK continues dredging on assignment in the HDDA and has dredged approximately 2.2 million cubic yards of material (mcy). 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 mcy of sediment from the HDDA to be beneficially placed in the West Bay Receiving Area. The submerged dredge pipeline was installed during channel closures in late September, dredging operations started on October 1 (2023). The removed sediment is being 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 continues working from Mile 12 BHP to Mile 15 BHP on the eastern side of the Ship Channel. The cutterhead is presently located at Mile 12.96 and is beneficially utilizing the removed sediment (dredged material) to create new marsh along the banks of Southwest Pass.
MAXIMUM DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS PER PILOT ASSOCIATION:
(UNCHANGED SINCE 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 0800 hours today was 3.13 feet with a 24-hour change of + 0.41 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 for the next few days but will then resume an extended slow fall to 2.3 feet on December 12 (2023).
The Baton Rouge Gage reading at 0900 hours was 6.84 feet with a 24-hour change + 0.36 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 begin a slow extended fall to 3.3 feet on December 12 (2023).
*Long-range forecasts only include precipitation expected to fall in the next 48-hours.