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Vortex performs maintenance in Sacramento and Stockton Ship Channels

Vortex dredge Voracious works in the Sacramento shipping channel during 2013 maintenance dredging.

Vortex dredge Voracious works in the Sacramento shipping channel during 2013 maintenance dredging.

During five to 10 percent of operations, fish screen caught specimen from the end of the pipeline for monitoring and analysis.

At the end of August, Vortex Marin Construction,  Inc. of Oakland, California, began maintenance dredging in the Sacramento and Stockton deepwater ship channels. The  Corps of  Engineers  Sacramento District will likely ask for an extension, past the dredge window, to finish in December.

Vortex used the dredge Voracious on this $6.4 million contract, which is an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity, IDIQ, contract. Vortex dredged in 2012 and will likely dredge during next years window.

The Stockton channel runs along the San Joaquin River and out to San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco District handles the first 40 miles of the channel. Then, Sacramento District picks up the maintenance dredging from the city of Antioch to the port. The Sacramento District maintains the manmade upper portion of the Sacramento Ship Channel and the San Francisco District maintains the lower portion.

Sacramento District Project Manager Gary Kamei  said  the  Sacramento channel will be dredged to 30 feet and the Stockton channel to 35 feet. The Corps wont have exact numbers until after the dredging is  complete in December, but Kamei estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 cubic yards will be  dredged  from  Stockton channel and between 100,000 and 200,000 cubic yards in the Sacramento channel.

Vortexs hydraulic cutterhead dredge will work in both channels. The Corps is responsible   for   dredging the channel and its  non-federal  sponsors,  the  ports, are  responsible  for  providing the placement site for the ockton dredged material.

At the Port of Stockton, sand  from  the  channel  will go to the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, where an endangered butterfly  habitat  needs  sand to restore its dunes. Other placement sites for the duration of the dredging include sites parallel to the shipping channel that belong to the Port of Sacramento, and along the Sacramento River near Rio Vista, on the lower San Joaquin River at Sherman Island, Scour Pond, McCormick, and the Port of Stocktons site on Roberts Island.

During the dredge window, NOAA Fisheries requires the Corps to perform fish monitoring, which has two parts fishing the river for a population count and a fish screen at the end of the pipeline at the placement site, used during five to ten percent of operations, to capture fish specimen. Fisheries sends two biologists to identify the fish.

Kamei said he anticipates the district will get its extension. The Corps has a programmatic agreement with Fisheries, regarding this maintenance dredging project, which includes initial verbal communication that an extension may be requested.

“When we work with the agencies, they like to see that we’ve made a good faith effort to complete the dredging on time,” Kamei said. “If we didnt start dredging until October, then they’re less likely to grant an extension.”

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