Dredge Wheeler pictured in the Southwest Pass

The hopper dredge M/V WHEELER, pictured here sailing on the Mississippi River, is the largest hopper dredge in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Photo courtesy of USACE

The Wheeler’s main purpose is to remove shoaling from the bottom of navigation channels and maintain reliable channel depth for deep draft navigation. The dredger keeps waterway channels clear from Key West, Florida, to Brownsville, Texas.

Although the dredge is maintained in a state of readiness for worldwide operations, it spends the majority of its time operating in the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, dealing with shoaling problems that occur during high and low water.

On a good operating day, the Wheeler can remove 100,000 cubic yards of material, or about 7,000 dumptruck loads, from a project site.