Emerald Tidings

January 2010

  1. Town Receives Another Grant for New Public Boat Launching Facility
  2. Update - Static Vegetation Line Exception
  3. Rain, Rain Go Away!
  4. Sand Placement at The Point
  5. US Census Bureau Jobs Available
  6. Carteret Literacy Council Needs Tutors
  7. Pete Allen Receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

Town Receives Another Grant for New Public Boat Launching Facility

The NC Marine Fisheries Commission recently approved a $500,000 grant to the Town to assist with the land purchase for the new public boat launching facility.  This grant program, the NC Marine Resources Fund, is funded by proceeds from the sale of saltwater fishing licenses by the State.    This grant brings the Town's total grant funding awarded for the land acquisition to $3.45 million from 5 different State and County sources.  The NC Wildlife Resources Commission has also committed to fund the estimated $800,000 construction cost for the new facility.   The new public boat launching facility will be constructed on 23 acres adjacent to Chapel By The Sea near mile marker 18 on NC 58.  The new facility will have 4 launching ramps and parking for nearly 120 vehicles and trailers.  Construction is expected to begin in late spring, with the facility open to the public in fall 2010.  

Update - Static Vegetation Line Exception

The Board of Commissioners will formally consider the Town's static vegetation line exception request in January, and the request (if approved by the Board) would be forwarded to the NC Coastal Resources Commission for its consideration at its March 24 - 26 meeting in Sunset Beach, NC. 

The Town's static vegetation line exception request will outline past nourishment history in Emerald Isle, ongoing monitoring efforts, future sand sources, and future funding sources to continue beach nourishment activities for the next 25 years.  If this request is approved, the static vegetation line currently used to determine oceanfront setbacks along the eastern 6 miles of Emerald Isle's oceanfront will be replaced by the actual first line of stable vegetation.  This change could potentially return many of the 171 non-conforming lots and structures in eastern Emerald Isle to conforming status, depending on the amount of dunes and vegetation present on-site. 

The Town's draft static vegetation line exception request will be posted on the Town's website, www.emeraldisle-nc.org , after January 9.  Check under "Latest News and Info" on the right hand side of the main page. 

Rain, Rain Go Away!

The last couple of months have been very challenging from a storm water perspective in Emerald Isle.  The Town received unprecedented rainfall totals during this time, with storm water impacts far greater than any of the past hurricane events in the 1990s and 2000s. 

All totaled, the Town received more than 35 inches of rain over the last 7 weeks of 2009.  To put this in perspective, the average annual rainfall total in Emerald Isle is approximately 55 inches for the whole year!  This significant rain in November and December came on top of previous significant rainfall events in September and October, and the groundwater table was already at a high level before the seemingly never-ending rain began on Veteran's Day.

The Town faced significant storm water flooding issues in several areas of Town on multiple occasions over the past 7 weeks.  The Town's Public Works staff worked very hard during all hours of the day and night, and all days of the week to address flooding concerns as quickly and effectively as possible.  The Town's 5 fixed pumps in neighborhoods along Coast Guard Road generally worked well, and resolved issues in these areas in short order.  Public Works deployed several Town-owned portable pumps, and also brought in additional rental pumps to help in other problem areas, and was able to clear Town streets within a few days in most areas.

The Town worked very hard to address concerns as quickly as possible within the limits of our resources and within the applicable Federal and State laws and regulations.  The Town's efforts focused on the worst areas first, and also the areas where we could benefit the most people in the shortest time.  Because it's obviously not cost effective to provide a pump to every property owner with standing water in their yard (there were literally hundreds of property owners in this situation), the Town's pumping efforts focused on clearing public and private streets only.  Perhaps the most limiting factor is having an acceptable and legal place to pump the water.  In some cases, there was simply no publicly owned land nearby, and the Town can only pump water to private property with the consent of private property owners.  (There were numerous private property owners who graciously assisted the Town over the past several weeks, and their cooperation was and is greatly appreciated!)  Federal and State laws and regulations also limit the Town's flexibility to pump storm water to the ocean and sound, and in some cases these laws and regulations do not allow the Town to pump in certain areas.

In the vast majority of cases, the main problem, which is still ongoing and will be for some time, is that the groundwater table is very near or already above the ground surface, and the water simply has no place to go.  The vast, vast majority of "storm water" problems in Emerald Isle are actually groundwater problems.  Aside from a much larger system of fixed groundwater pumps in numerous locations (at significant expense), there's not much that can be done other than to wait for the groundwater table to subside to normal levels.  Having said this, the Town continues to pursue plans for additional fixed pumps (beyond the 5 already installed in recent years) in the areas most chronically impacted.

The Town stands ready to address any ongoing storm water problems in the beginning of 2010 as they occur, and will remain diligent and committed to providing relief as quickly as possible.  Let's all hope for a slightly drier 2010! 

Sand Placement at The Point

Southwind Construction, the US Army Corps of Engineers' dredging contractor performing work in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and nearby channels, is currently working in our area.  Sand dredged is being placed on the beach at The Point, and will further help to stabilize this area. 

An estimated 75,000 cubic yards of sand is being placed in the area between the Channel Drive public access walkway on the oceanfront and around The Point to the Coast Guard Channel.  Southwind expects to complete all work by the end of January, and the Town expects to be able to reopen the vehicle ramp at The Point later this winter.

US Census Bureau Jobs Available

The U.S. Census Bureau is seeking qualified applicants to fill jobs in Emerald Isle and western Carteret County to work in the 2010 Census.   These temporary positions are for census takers, who will go door-to-door beginning in early May to visit households that have not returned the census questionnaire.  Some hiring will begin in January, but most hiring is set for March and April 2010. 

Job-seekers can call toll-free, 1-866-861-2010, for application instructions and information about jobs or they can go online to www.2010censusjobs.gov.

Carteret Literacy Council Needs Tutors

The Carteret Literacy Council offers free one-on-one tutoring to the adults and young people of Carteret County in the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics.  Additional tutors are needed, and training is available for those willing to help! 

A few hours of your time can lead to a lifetime of fulfillment for someone else.  The next 4-session tutor training workshop will be held on January 19, 21, 26, and 28 (Tuesdays and Thursdays).  All four training sessions will be held from 12 noon to 3 pm.  

Call to register now!  You can reach the Carteret Literacy Council at 252-808-2020, or at CarteretLiteracy@CarteretLiteracy.org .  You can make a difference!

Pete Allen Receives Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award

Emerald Isle resident Pete Allen recently received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the highest honors the Governor can bestow upon a North Carolina citizen.   Pete Allen is a long-time public servant in our area, having served in several leadership roles for the Town of Emerald Isle (Mayor, Town Administrator, Town Manager, Commissioner), Carteret County (County Manager, Commissioner), and the Town of Atlantic Beach (Town Manager) during his long and distinguished career. Congratulations to Pete on this well-deserved recognition!

Frank A. Rush, Jr.
Town Manager
Posted by Frank Rush Friday, January 1, 2010 4:28:00 PM