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Publication Abstract

Sedimentation Management Alternatives for the Port Of Pascagoula

Johnson, H. N., McAnally, W. H., & Ortega-Achury, S. L. (2010). Sedimentation Management Alternatives for the Port Of Pascagoula. Mississippi State University: Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The purpose of this project is to develop proposed solutions to reduce the Port of Pascagoula dredging costs. The Port of Pascagoula is located in Jackson County, Mississippi, in the southeastern portion of the state. It is the largest port in Mississippi and ranks in the top 20 ports for foreign cargo volume in the United States (JCPA 2007). The West Harbor, also known as the Pascagoula River Harbor, is located at the mouth of the Pascagoula River about 13 miles from the deep water shipping lanes. The West Harbor’s channel has a design depth of 38 ft. and contains 5 terminals. The East Harbor, also known as the Bayou Casotte Harbor, is located about 11 miles from the deep water shipping lanes. The harbor has a design depth of 42 ft. and a turning basin that is 940 ft. wide. A large portion of the port access is designated a Federal channel and managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The port authority is responsible only for the maintenance and dredging of the areas that they directly manage. While the focus of this report is the Jackson County Port Authority’s maintenance requirements, both the port and Federal maintenance requirements must ultimately be addressed together since they are contiguous. The local channel in the Bayou Casotte harbor needs to be dredged every 48 to 72 months and the local channel in the Pascagoula River harbor needs to be dredged every 18 months in order to maintain full channel dimensions. The Corps of Engineers Mobile District estimates that 3.06 million cu m of dredged materials from the Federal shipping channels will need to be removed and disposed of every 3 years for the next 40 years. Dredged sediment from the port and access channels is mostly fine, cohesive material, often forming fluid mud – a high concentration fluid-sediment suspension at the bed that can flow downslope. Filed measurements and analyses of hydrographic surveys have shown where sedimentation problems occur first and that fluid mud formation is a primary component of the problem. Recommended solutions include agitation dredging, a fluid mud trap, and the practice of active nautical depth, with active nautical depth, a practice employed in several European ports, offering the greatest potential cost savings. Adopting active nautical depth in partnership with the Corps of Engineers is recommended.