NEW ORLEANS – Dredging has begun at the Pilottown Anchorage Area in the Mississippi River as part of the operations and maintenance responsibilities for the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act West Bay Sediment Diversion Project. Approximately two million cubic yards of material is expected to be dredged from the anchorage area by Mike Hooks, Incorporated for a cost of approximately $12 M. All material dredged from the anchorage area will be used beneficially in the West Bay Sediment Diversion receiving area to aid in the creation of land.
A recent study completed by the Army’s Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) shows that the West Bay Sediment Diversion Project contributes approximately 25%, plus or minus 15%, of the shoaling that occurs within the Pilottown Anchorage Area. As a result, the CWPPRA Task Force voted to fully fund this current dredging cycle under the premise that this cycle will cover all dredging responsibility associated with the operation of the West Bay project for as long as the diversion remains open. This is last dredging cycle to be funded through the CWPPRA program and is expected to wrap-up in August 2013.
The West Bay Sediment Diversion Project was constructed in 2002 and the Pilottown Anchorage Area has been dredged 3 times in association with this project. All dredged material has been placed in the diversion receiving area and, in recent years, new land has formed in the area.
In 2008, the CWPPRA Task Force voted to close the West Bay Sediment Diversion project due to increases in cost associated with dredging the Pilottown Anchorage Area, which became too substantial for the scope of the CWPPRA program. With new shoaling data available through the ERDC report, the Task Force voted in October of 2012 to keep the diversion open and fund the current dredging cycle utilizing O&M dollars for the project.
The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act program (CWPPRA or "Breaux Act") was established in 1990 and provides targeted funds to be used for planning and implementing projects that create, protect, restore and enhance wetlands in coastal Louisiana.
CWPPRA is comprised of five Federal Agencies and the Local Cost Share Sponsor, which is the State of Louisiana. The Federal Agencies of CWPPRA include:
* the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) of the US Department of the Interior,
* the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),
* the National Marine Fisheries Service of Department of Commerce (USDC),
* the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), and
* the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
The Governor's Office of the State of Louisiana represents the State.