This is a information and discussion article on the topic of Carteret County NC stormwater runoff management and efforts by local officials and commissioners in municipalities such as Morehead City, Beaufort, Newport, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Cape Carteret, and Harkers Island to protect our rivers, sounds, ocean, and bays that contain very diverse ecosystems, habitats, living shorelines, and other natural resources. Additionally, this article will encourage readers input on ways specific local county government is addressing this issue.
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This section is maintained for new information we learn about after publication that directly relates to stormwater issues within the county and municipalities.
October 2021: The Atlantic Beach NC town council will seek state and federal money for the local watershed restoration and stormwater resilience plan via a Section 319 grant from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.
September 2021: Emerald Isle NC officials are seeking funds via the federal Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities funds for major improvements to Deerhorn Dunes, Pebble Beach, the Holiday Trav-L Park, Queens Court condominiums and Boardwalk RV Park and the Western Ocean Regional Access, all in the flood-prone western end of town to mitigate and prevent future flooding issues and damage to property.
October 2020: Morehead City officials are moving forward with a study to help develop a master plan which will address flooding and similar issues within the town. Officials announced they hired a firm out of Durham NC called Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions Inc which is a stormwater management consulting company to develop the master plan.
Stormwater is defined as standing or moving water from precipitation events such as heavy rains, melting snow, and storm surge flooding that travels over potentially polluted areas such as roads, parking lots, and building rooftops and makes it’s way in to waters that contain natural resources, animal habitats and ecosystems, delicate shorelines, and places where harvesting of shellfish such as shrimp, oysters, and clams are harvested.
Stormwater even has the potential to affect fish hatcheries along the coast, along with polluting inshore waters where we have an abundance of fish.
The management of stormwater runoff is particularly complex in Carteret County municipalities and unincorporated areas because we tend to experience persistent threats from storm surge events related to weather, tropical storms, and hurricanes. Additionally, because most places within the county are considered low lying areas that surround delicate marshes and waters, runoff is a considerable issue that has to be constantly addressed.
Furthermore, because our county, and especially for communities down east near Harkers Island, Cedar Island, and Otway to name a few, is an epicenter for commercial fishing and shellfish harvesting, very close attention to the environment must be maintained to prevent polluted waters from infiltrating these natural resources.
In short, stormwater management is about water quality, clean beaches, pristine waterways, and protecting the environment from common natural weather and storm events that happen along our coastline in NC.
Impacts On Local NC Tourism
Because Carteret County NC and the beaches near Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle on Bogue Banks are perennial tourism centers for people who visit and enjoy our waterways, this issue has a huge impact on the local economy and businesses that exist within our communities. Simply put, the management of runoff is vital to water quality and clean beaches which supports tourism.
If you’re a local resident, member of a non-profit environmental group, commercial fisherman, or simply someone who visits the area, what local efforts in our NC county are underway to deal with runoff at the local government and commissioner level? What are some significant ways county commissioners, mayors, and regulatory agencies such as the Carteret County Soil and Water Conservation district are working to protect waterways, beaches, and habitats along our coastline?
What are some specific research and education efforts taking place at Duke Marine Lab, the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, and NC State Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) in Morehead City to compact and prevent runoff along vulnerable ecosystems?
What are some non-profit groups in the county who work daily to bring attention to and educate the public on this issue?
If you are a commercial fisherman or fish hatcheries expert, how does polluted stormwater affect local resources?
What specific programs, actions, and education is happening locally in NC during weather events like flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes which bring an acute sense of urgency to our area when storm surge infiltrates potentially polluted impervious roadways and rooftops and makes it’s way in to our rivers, sounds, bays, ocean, and other waterways along the coast?
What are some specific legislative, mayoral, and county commissioner actions that deal directly with stormwater runoff management?
What are some specific impacts on local tourism?
Filed: NC water quality