Port wants cameras to monitor waterways
MORGAN CITY, La. — The Port of Morgan City is looking for money to buy cameras to monitor the Intracoastal Waterway and Atchafalaya River.
The port is in the process of applying for the fiscal year 2013 Port Security Grant program, vying for a portion of the $37 million available through the program, port special projects coordinator Mike Knobloch said at the Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District commission meeting Monday.
The major change in the 2013 port security grant program is that instead of being divided into four tiers, ports and law enforcement agencies across the country are divided into two groups, Knobloch said.
The port is looking to submit two projects for funding. One is to expand the port’s maritime awareness by putting more cameras along the waterways from Amelia to the Calumet Cut on the Intracoastal Waterway and on the Atchafalaya River from Swiftships to as far south as possible, Knobloch said.
Knobloch said he thinks the port will be successful in getting funding for the project.
The cameras could be monitored at the port, and the ones he has looked at are solar-powered, Knobloch said.
“Anything that gives us more visibility on the waterways the farther out we get, the better off we are,” Capt. Jonathan Burton, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Morgan City, said.
Knobloch said the port wants cameras for Berwick’s boardwalk and the same for Morgan City.
The other project the port plans to submit for the 2013 Port Security Grant program is to purchase cameras that the port can use with its federal partners and buy generators for the port facility, Knobloch said.
The grant program has a 25 percent local match, he said. Having still camera shots and video can help port economic development manager Cindy Cutrera keep track of vessels and materials that pass through the port’s district to get a more accurate number for the tonnage passing through the port, Knobloch said.
The first deadline for the 2013 Port Security Grant to submit a document with the amount of money the port is requesting is next week, and the second deadline is a week later when the port must submit specifications about the proposed projects, he said.
“We have a little time to sit down and go over with the Coast Guard maybe some areas where they could use some visuals,” Knobloch said.
The Corps of Engineers is finishing reviewing the project partnership agreement with the port as the final version is being reviewed by the corps’ office of counsel, Mike Lowe of the Corps of Engineers said.
The Crewboat Cut project in the Atchafalaya River is dependent on that document being completed, Lowe said. No corps projects can begin until the agreement is completed.
The corps is planning to put down rocks in the Crewboat Cut in the Atchafalaya River to keep the sediment from flowing back into the cut that the corps is trying to open up, Lowe said.
The corps is advertising the contract for the work, and then the corps will open bidding through an amendment to the contract, Lowe said. The corps is prepared to open bids for the project as soon as the project partnership is finalized and signed by the secretary of the army, Lowe said.
The port submitted its Transportation and Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation on Sunday asking for money to redo the dock at the port and the dock in downtown Morgan City. “We’ll find out later this summer if those funds have been awarded,” Knobloch said.
The final portion of the fiscal year 2009 Port Security Grant program is to install security cameras and a surveillance system at the port. The port commission awarded the contract to American Integrated Contractors LLC in Lafayette.
Work will begin to install the system June 25 with a completion date of July 26.
For the fiscal year 2010 port security grant, one sub-grantee decided not to receive the funds so the $123,000 in funds will be reallocated to the port pending approval from FEMA, Knobloch said.
In other business, the commission:
—Adopted its 2013 millage rate of 4.49 mills, which is the same rate as 2012, to be assessed on property in the parish.
—Approved port commission president Jerry Gauthier to sign a modification to an agreement with Moffat & Nichol Inc. for engineering services granting the company about $12,000 and extending the contract through Feb. 28.
—Authorized Gauthier to sign a permanent servitude agreement with Continental Land & Fur Co. Inc. for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be able to use a section of its property to place rocks along the Crewboat Cut in the Atchafalaya River.