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Hurricane Response Protocol 2021

Our Annual JHT Preseason Meeting was held on May 25, 2021 via Webinar

View a recording of the meeting here:  2021 JHT Meeting Recording

Link to the Protocol document:  Gulf Inland Waterways JHT Protocol 6.15.21

During the devastating hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, the US Coast Guard (USCG), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the inland barge industry worked together to bring about an unprecedented restoration of inland maritime commerce on the Intracoastal Waterway and Lower Mississippi River. That working relationship developed to further the effectiveness of a pre-existing partnership between the barge industry, USACE, and USCG in the area of waterway operations management. Early in 2006, these partners formally agreed to work together to more fully develop lessons learned from the past hurricane seasons and waterways management practices, with the goal of implementing an effective, consistent, safe, and expeditious restoration of Gulf Coast maritime commerce following future storms. Specifically, a Memorandum of Understanding, referencing cooperative hurricane response efforts between USACE, USCG, and the inland barge industry, via the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA) and American Waterways Operators (AWO) documents the joint agreement.

As a result of that formal agreement, the Gulf Coast Inland Waterways Joint Hurricane Team (JHT) was formed. The primary objective of this team was to develop a document that captured the essence of what had worked well in the past storm seasons’ partnering efforts on hurricane response. A secondary objective was to continue to function in future years to continuously improve the original plan, based on lessons learned from each year’s response activities. The plan would be referred to as the Gulf Coast Inland Waterways Joint Hurricane Response Protocol. Specifically, the Protocol is intended to address the commercially navigable waters of the Lower Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and its tributaries. It would be revised, under the auspices of the Joint Hurricane Team, at least annually.

As the inland barge industry’s primary waterways management representative for the Gulf Coast, GICA maintains the Protocol. Applicable portions of the Protocol may be included in hurricane plans maintained by Federal, state, and local partners.

The President of GICA serves as Chair of the Joint Hurricane Team, and Co-Chairs are an Eighth Coast Guard District representative and a representative from each of the Gulf coast USACE Districts.

The Chairman ensures that a complete set of minutes is maintained and distributed to members for every meeting. A list of other industry, USACE, and USCG personnel needing to be kept apprised of the team’s activities is maintained by the Chairman. Members may suggest the addition of others to this list as appropriate. Ultimate approval of who receives information from this team will rest with the USACE and USCG representatives.

The Protocol is intended to focus on the working relationships, roles, and responsibilities of the USCG, USACE, NOAA, states, and Inland Barge Industry, partnering together to effectively and expeditiously secure the waterways prior to storm landfall and restore them afterward. It is not the intent of this Protocol to repeat or supplant specifics of existing USCG and USACE hurricane response plans.

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