Port of Lake Charles

Lake Charles Harbor & Terminal District
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Water Institute of the Gulf study

The study “Identifying Sediment Sources and Optimizing Placement of Dredge Material to Protect Critical Infrastructure” (2019) has been issued by The Water Institute of the Gulf.

The Calcasieu Ship Channel (CSC) has become an important economic driver in Lake Charles and in the southwest Louisiana region. The CSC is a 68-mile long, deep-draft commercial waterway located in southwest Louisiana, from Lake Charles into the Gulf of Mexico. Beginning in the 1920s, the CSC was channelized by straightening, widening, and deepening the Calcasieu River to its current dimensions of 400 ft wide by 40 ft deep. Maintaining the adequate channel dimensions to accommodate ship traffic that is increasing in both volume and maximum vessel size requires a rigorous dredging plan. Thus, there is a need to carefully investigate the sediment dynamics along the length of the CSC and surrounding areas in order to understand the sources and character of the sediment and design a feasible and effective dredging strategy.

The goal of the present project is to assist the Port of Lake Charles in strategizing to maintain its deep-draft commercial competitiveness through the 21st Century, while at the same time minimizing its environmental footprint and keeping dredging and dredge material disposal area maintenance costs to a minimum. This observational and modeling effort provides the necessary scientific underpinning to develop an integrated plan in the future that may include novel strategies that use dredge material to limit future dredging needs and qualify as beneficial use, and green infrastructure (e.g., ecosystem habitat improvements).

Read the full study here. PLC_Report_FINAL_20190530