Nessie is her name. A new dredge for the Edgartown Great Pond was launched on Wednesday afternoon before a crowd of 50 friends and riparian owners around the pond. Nessie will begin her work in November by dredging the bottom and helping to improve circulation in the pond. The first project will involve removing a sandbar that has built up in the pond near the site where it is opened to the sea. Dredging the area is expected to make future openings to the sea stay open for longer periods of time. Other dredging projects will follow.

The Edgartown Great Pond Foundation is working to raise $900,000 to underwrite the cost of the dredge program. Nessie, a small dredge suited for work in the shallow pond, was shipped across the country from the West Coast.

Tom Wallace, president of the foundation, greeted the shoreside gathering and spoke of the dredge as part of a broader effort to improve and maintain good water quality in the pond. He recalled and paid tribute to the work of Michael Wild, who once lived near the pond. Mr. Wallace said there are many steps being taken to help the pond which include an effort to increase the oyster population.

Edgartown selectman Art Smadbeck also spoke. He praised the efforts of both private and public interests in looking to a better future for the Edgartown Great Pond. He said the acquisition of the dredge is not just going to help the pond but will benefit all in the town.

The Rev. John D. Schüle Jr. gave a blessing.

Deborah Loughrey christened the vessel with a few words and by swinging a bottle of champagne against the side of the vessel. The event included Scottish bagpipe music and a social. The vessel is permitted to operate in the pond from Nov. 1 to March 15.

— Mark Alan Lovewell