From an Island Free Press report
The Dare County Waterways Commission is hopeful that maintenance issues in Hatteras Inlet finally can be addressed in a timely manner.
“We don’t want to wait until the last minute,” Commission Chair Steve “Creature” Coulter said at the Jan. 9 meeting in Manteo. “We want it fixed and maintained so we can tell the people to come.”
With permission from the Oregon Inlet Task Force, the new state dredge Miss Katie is on track to be able to work in the Connector Channel by early February, waterways administrator Barton Grover said in later interview.
The Oregon Inlet Task Force, which controls the dredge’s schedule, voted at its Jan. 10 meeting to approve the commission’s motion requesting the Hatteras work, Grover said.
There will likely be another request for the Miss Katie to go back to Hatteras at the end of March, he added. The goal is to prevent another shoaling crisis by keeping the channel in good shape before the six-month sea turtle moratorium begins on April 1. But work is possible in the warmer months with permission from regulatory agencies.
“I think a week to 10 days is a good measure of how effective they can be in the Connector Channel,” Ken Willson, Dare County dredge projects consultant with Coastal Planning & Engineering of North Carolina, speaking remotely, told commissioners. “Then maybe monitor it and come back and do a cleanup at the end of March.”
The 156-foot shallow-draft hopper dredge, christened on Oct. 13 at a ceremony in Wanchese, is a public-private partnership with Greenville-based EJE Dredging Service, built with a $15 million allocation from the state Shallow Draft Navigation fund. EJE owns and operates the Miss Katie, and the Oregon Inlet Task Force has been charged by Dare County to manage the dredge, including its operation schedule and project monitoring.
In return for EJE dredging in the county at a reduced rate for 10 years, the state loan will be forgiven, according to the contract. The agreement also can be renewed.
This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast.