U.S. Coast Guard seeks mariner input for Western Rivers study

WASHINGTON – The United States Coast Guard is seeking input for a study of navigation requirements for the entire Western Rivers System.

The Coast Guard Waterways Analysis and Management System (WAMS) study will review the Western Rivers Aids to Navigation (ATON) System.

The ATON system on the Western Rivers differs from the U.S. Coastal ATON System due to the unstable nature of the river and channels. The Coast Guard operates this system on the Mississippi River from Upper Mississippi River Mile 857 to Lower Mississippi River Mile 155 and on its tributaries.

The system also includes the following rivers and waterways:

  • Port Allen-Morgan City Alternate Route (Louisiana)
  • That part of the Atchafalaya River above its junction with the Port Allen-Morgan City Alternate Route including the Old River and the New River.
  • The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (Mississippi)
  • Tombigbee River ((Mississippi-Alabama)
  • Black Warrior River (Alabama)
  • Alabama River
  • Coosa River (Alabama)
  • Mobile River above Cochrane Bridge at St. Louis Point
  • Flint River
  • Chattahoochee River
  • Apalachicola River above its confluence with the Jackson River

The rivers and waterways by USCG Sectors:

USCG Sector Lower Mississippi USCG Sector Upper Mississippi USCG Sector Ohio Valley USCG Sector Mobile USCG Sector Lake Michigan
Arkansas River Illinois River Allegheny Apalachicola River Chicago River
Atchafalaya River Minnesota River Big Sandy River Flint River Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal
Canadian River Missouri River Clinch River Chattahoochee River Des Plains River
Lower Mississippi River St. Croix River Cumberland River Mobile River  
Ouachita-Black River Upper Mississippi River Green River Alabama River  
Red River Kaskaskia River Hiwassee River Black Warrior  
Verdigris River   Kanawha River Mulberry Fork Black Warrior River  
San Bois Creek   Little River Locust Fork Black Warrior River  
Keller Lake   Little Tennessee River Coosa River  
White River   Monongahela River    
Pine Bluff   Ohio River    
Port Allen-Morgan City Alternate Route   Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway    
    Tombigbee River    
    Tennessee River    
    Emory River    
    Piney River    
    Cumberland River    


Interested mariners and maritime stakeholder can provide input at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WRWAMS.

The survey will be available until July 1, 2018.

In addition to reviewing input from the survey, the WAMS study will analyze cargo data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterborne Statistics Center. Automatic Identification System (AIS) marine traffic data will also be analyzed and compared with environmental conditions, such as ice and water levels.

The Western Rivers study is the third of a series of U.S. Coast Guard navigation systems reviews. The first study identified requirements for the Atlantic and Gulf Seacoast and the second study is reviewing navigation requirements for the Pacific Seacoast and Islands.

Through these system-wide navigation studies, the U.S. Coast Guard is reviewing its nation-wide policy on the use of ATON and delivery of Marine Safety Information to promote the safety of future maritime transportation and commerce on U.S. navigable waters.

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