The owners and chief executive officers of the hopper owning and specialized dust pan companies met in Washington, D.C. in late December for three days of meetings. The sessions included a roundtable discussion with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, chief of engineers, Lt. General Todd Semonite and Major General Scott Spellmon, deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations. Meetings also included a Water Resources Development U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stakeholders day and a board of directors meeting with the American Maritime Partnership.
A significant portion of the roundtable discussion with the Chiefs revolved around the Mississippi River’s Southwest Pass (SWP); the lessons learned from the previous flood season and the path forward for 2020. According to the National Weather Service, this year’s flood season (December 2018 – August 2019) is recorded as the longest known flood period on the lower Mississippi River, dating back to 1543. The Bonnet Carré Spillway was used for the 13th time in its history, and the first time in consecutive years. In May, and in the first time ever in its history, the Bonnet Carré Spillway was opened a second time in the same year due to excessive rainfall upriver.
The U.S. private sector dredging industry answered the call in conjunction with the government’s ready reserve program. Moving forward, the Corps has begun contracting in advance for dedicated private sector hopper dredges with a Gulf Coast Regional hopper contract, an early open by amendment program and securing large scale cutterhead suction dredges for advanced dredging operations.
The Dredging Contractors of America (DCA), industry representatives and a wide cross-section of leaders participated in a stakeholders’ listening session on water resources development activities. Dredging industry executives also participated in the monthly board of directors meeting with the American Maritime Partnership. The board discussed matters related to the Customs and Border Protection’s recent notice and comment initiative, heavy lift operations and activities of the outer continental shelf.