Possible dredging disposal sites identified

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2023

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The Miss Katie, the shallow draft hopper dredge, has completed its promised work in Hatteras Inlet and returned to Oregon Inlet.

At the March meeting of the Dare County Waterways Commission, it was reported the Miss Katie was due to spend a solid week of dredging in Hatters Inlet.

Miss Katie arrived in Hatteras Inlet on March 8 to work on the Connector Channel. She encountered some weather days, but did a significant amount of dredging. She left for Oregon Inlet on March 23.

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“Everything looks good,” reported Steve Coulter, who chairs the Dare County Waterways Commission.

As it stands now, the Connector Channel is the only channel that the Miss Katie is permitted to dredge in Hatteras Inlet.

Coastal Protection Engineering’s Ken Willson is working on an permit application for the Miss Katie to dredge the 5.1 miles long Rollinson Channel; the basin at Hatteras; the Hatteras Ferry Channel in two sections: a 100-foot wide fixed channel from Rollinson Channel toward the Hatteras Inlet gorge; and the recent federally realigned 100-foot wide channel sometimes called the horseshoe route, including Barney Slough, some of Pamlico Sound, and Sloop Channel; and the Hatteras Inlet Ocean Bar Channel.

In order to dredge, Dare County is required to identify sites that are disposal areas. At the March 13, 2023 meeting of the Waterways Commission, Willson identified five areas as possible disposal sites:

– Nearshore disposal areas off Ocracoke Island and Hatteras Island, both of which are already federally authorized. Both sites, which bracket the inlet, are federal authorized. The Ocracoke disposal site has been used most recently.

– Sheet Pile Protection Placement Area. Placing dredged material directly adjacent to the Ocracoke Ferry Terminal would provide protection for the sheet pile wall.

– Open Water Disposal Area in Pamlico Sound. It is possible, says the report from Willson, that the Miss Katie may dredge on a year-round basis as a sidecaster or special purpose dredge in these areas: Rollinson Channel, Barney Slough, Pamlico Sound and Sloop Channel. Some of these areas are six miles from the nearshore sites. Thus, new open water disposal areas would be cost effective. Two sites have been temporarily identified. When these sites fill to a depth too shallow for the Miss Katie to operate, these sites may work for bird islands.

– Open Water Disposal Adjacent to South Ferry Channel/Hatteras Ocean Bar. Deep, scoured out portions of the Hatteras Inlet gorge are measured at 30 feet and could accept some amount of disposal material from Barney Slough, Pamlico Sound and Sloop Channel.

– Open Water Disposal by Sidecasting. In the realignment, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers included sidecasting in the horseshoe route and the draft paper suggests duplicating the locations for the Miss Katie to operate as a hopper dredge.