Friday 03 February 2017 at 5:04 pm
We’re at least a year away from the new flood maps being implemented, but the preliminary maps which came out in June of 2016 is a topic that has certainly garnered attention in the past couple of weeks.
Heavily attended public meetings were held on January 11, 12, and 13 – including one in Buxton that attracted 50 people - and on January 17th, a presentation at the Board of Commissioners’ (BOC) Meeting by Dare County Planning Manager Donna Creef led to six recommended actions being approved.
So what’s happening with the new flood maps, and how are homeowners going to be affected?
Essentially, the good news is that many homeowners on Hatteras Island are being moved to a less-risky flood zone designation, which could entail a lower base flood elevation, or a lower risk zone altogether. Theoretically, this could lead to lower flood insurance rates for homeowners all across the island.
The bad news, as Creef said at the presentation, is that “Low risk isn’t no risk.” Any resident who is still cleaning up after Matthew, (and there are lots of us), obviously knows that just because a zone on the map has been changed, it doesn’t mean that Mother Nature will refer to the new maps and follow suit. And there’s a concern growing that once flood insurance isn’t required, homeowners may opt out altogether, putting their properties at high risk in the process.
Friday 20 January 2017 at 6:21 pm
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge officials put out a news release last week that noted if you are visiting -- or even driving through the area on northern Hatteras Island -- you might notice some visible changes in the landscape.
And, no, they are not talking about all the construction on two bridges -- the Bonner Bridge replacement, which will land on the north end of the refuge, or the temporary bridge over Pea Island Inlet, which is located just south of the Visitor Center about in the center of the refuge.
The news releases informs us that managers have scheduled routine mowing for the dikes around the three impoundments.
If you are not familiar with Pea Island, I'll give you some information -- though many folks have driven right through it, thinking they are on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The refuge is about 13 miles long and surrounded to the north and the south by the national seashore. It is comprised of 5,834 acres and 27,000 acres of designated boundary waters.
Pea Island is located on the Atlantic Flyway and, according to its website, provides nesting, resting, and wintering habitat for upwards of 365 species of greater snow geese and other migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, and neotropical migrants.
It's come to be known as a "birder's paradise" and veteran and beginning birdwatchers walks its trails, especially in the fall and winter, to see what they can add to their "life list."
Friday 06 January 2017 at 5:40 pm
On Dec. 21, the National Park Service published in the Federal Register its final changes to the off-road vehicle rule for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore that became effective five years ago next month -- in February 2012.
Three of the changes addressed areas that Congress mandated the Park Service to re-examine in its final rule -- the morning opening of the beaches, the dates for seasonally open ORV routes, and the size and location of vehicle-free areas (VFAs).
Park officials added of their own accord issues that they thought should also be addressed -- and that they thought the public wanted addressed. Those included ORV permit durations and ORV access, especially access to soundside areas on Ocracoke and Cape Point.
An environmental process -- including a formal environmental assessment document and public meetings -- was necessary for the process of making the changes.
The process started in August of 2015 and ended with the Federal Register publication. The rules will be effective about Jan. 20.
You can find the details of the changes on the on the Beach Access and Park Issues Page.
Here I want to talk about getting to Cape Point, which involves the size and location of the VFAs -- which have turned out to be one of the most controversial parts of the ORV rules.
There is a VFA south of Cape Point which prohibits ORVs from driving there from Ramp 48 or 49 in Frisco or the old Ramp 45 at the back of the Cape Point Campground.
In other words, if the northern ORV route to the Point is impassable from ocean overwash or beach erosion, drivers can no longer get to the area from the south.