Dare County, in partnership with EJE Dredging Service, has announced that Miss Katie—the shallow-draft hopper dredge that has been under construction in Morgan City, Louisiana, since March 2021—has officially arrived on the Outer Banks.
Miss Katie departed from Conrad Shipyard in Louisiana on the morning of Saturday, August 13, 2022, and on the afternoon of of Friday, August 19, 2022, she arrived in Wanchese, which will serve as the dredge’s homeport.
“The completion of Miss Katie and her long-awaited arrival here on the Outer Banks is a historic moment and will be a game-changer for watermen in Dare County,” said Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard. “Commercial and recreational fishing are not just enormous economic drivers in our community; they’ve also been a way of life for thousands of folks here in Dare County for generations. It’s absolutely critical that we have the resources in place to properly dredge our channels and inlets that these watermen depend on as their highway to get to work every day—and thanks to the county’s partnership with EJE Dredging and the arrival of Miss Katie, we’ll be much better equipped to do just that.”
The completion of the highly anticipated hopper dredge is the result of a years-long collaboration between Dare County officials and Greenville, North Carolina-based EJE Dredging Service, a private partner that owns and operates the 156-foot-long dredge.
“With the arrival of the Miss Katie, we look forward to providing an open and navigable channel for the waterways in the region,” said Jordan Hennessy, vice president of EJE Dredging Service. “The Miss Katie has been specifically developed and designed to ensure she will be able to safely navigate the channels and inlets of North Carolina. The split-hull configuration will allow spoil discharge in shallow waters, thus preventing the vessel from grounding on her own hopper load.”
On May 20, 2019, the Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a contract for the construction and operation of a new shallow-draft hopper dredge that could be used to address the significant shoaling that occurs in various channels and inlets throughout Dare County.
Funding for the project came from a public-private partnership with the state of North Carolina, in which the legislature allocated $15 million from the Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Aquatic Weed Fund for the purchase of the dredge, which will play an integral role in keeping Dare County waterways accessible.
Once the necessary Certificate of Inspection with the United States Coast Guard is completed, Miss Katie will be scheduled to perform strategic dredging operations throughout the region in order to address the ongoing issues caused by shoaling.
Miss Katie’s operations will be managed by the Oregon Inlet Task Force, whose members will be responsible for scheduling, planning and monitoring the success of the dredging efforts that are undertaken.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to stand here with Miss Katie behind me,” said Oregon Inlet Task Force Chairman and Dare County Commissioner Jim Tobin. “It’s been a long and arduous process, and I’m happy to declare that today it is complete. It’s official—and thanks to the crew that brought her up here, Miss Katie is home.”
EJE Dredging Service will host a ribbon-cutting and christening ceremony in partnership with Dare County to formally celebrate the completion of the project later this year.
For more information about the development of Miss Katie and Dare County’s ongoing commitment to keeping area waterways open and accessible, please visit www.DareNC.com/MissKatie. To track Miss Katie’s location as she operates throughout the region, click here.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.