Rain, Rain Go Away: Emerald Isle Experiences Flooding

August 4, 2021

As of the release of this public update, more than 8 inches of rain has fallen in Emerald Isle in less than 3 days. Heavy rains are anticipated for the remainder of today and predicted for the week ending August 6, 2021.

Please take a few moments to read the following update related to the Town of Emerald Isle’s Proactive Stormwater Planning and Improvement Steps.

Following Hurricane Florence (2018), the hydrological flow of stormwater on Emerald Isle has been quantifiably impacted.  Additionally, the frequency and volume of heavy rain flow has intensified. 

Currently, there are approximately 6,500 residential lots within the jurisdictional boundaries of Emerald Isle that are developed.  As of July 2021, the most recent survey indicates that approximately 620 undeveloped lots remain.  Thus, approximately 94% of the identified buildable lots on Emerald Isle are now constructed.

As noted in the published Town of Emerald Isle Progressive Roadmap 2021-2023, elected officials and staff are taking proactive steps to (1) enhance its local planning processes and protective measures and (2) simultaneously improve the island's drainage system. . 

Below you will find a list of action steps taken, and/or, in process:

  • The E.I. Public Works Department has cleaned opened ditches, waterways, and enclosed stormwater pipes across the island.
    • In 2020, E.I. staff worked with the Town of Newport. 
    • By using shared municipal equipment, Emerald Isle saved approximately $45,000 in pipe cleaning.
  • The Town successfully completed a total of over $871,000 related system repairs between 2018-2021.
    • Reed Drive drainage improvements totaling $121,000, partially funded by FEMA.
    • A $750,000 public/private improvement project on Islander Drive to improve water flow and roadway surfaces.
  • Stormwater repairs on east Reed Drive, Cedar Street and Lee Ave have been identified.
    • A grant application of $535,000 is being filed with FEMA to repair, replace, and improve this critical infrastructure
    • Upon award, the contract(s) will be bid and awarded.
    • Construction will immediately follow.  
  • A comprehensive evaluation of all town maintained stationary generators and stormwater pumps is complete.
    • A grant application of $330,000 is being filed with FEMA to repair, replace, and improve this critical infrastructure
  • An evaluation of stormwater piping and needed repairs in the Cape Emerald subdivision is complete
    • A grant for $85,000 is being filed with FEMA to repair, replace, and improve this critical infrastructure
  • The E.I. Board of Commissioners established a committee to review the Town’s Unified Development Ordinance and development processes.
    • The Planning Review Committee was tasked with advertising, interviewing and recommending a private firm to review and update the Town’s UDO.
      • A contract was awarded to N-Focus on July 13, 2021 by the Town Board of Commissioners
    • Along with N-focus, the Town will review/update its vegetation guidelines, stormwater, and development rules via the UDO update.
    • The process will take 8-10 months to complete and will involve public input.
  • The Board of Commissioners selected engineers at Moffat & Nichol to serve as the primary stormwater review firm for the Town of Emerald Isle
    • Town staff and engineers at Moffat & Nichol are have identified a list of high priority drainage areas
    • Design concepts and pricing models have been/are being designed
    • A series of applications are being submitted to FEMA, under the 428 mitigation grant program, to fund these highly important projects.
    • Over $3M in critical repairs are anticipated throughout Emerald Isle.

In addition to responding to all of the aforementioned critical stormwater needs, the leadership in Emerald Isle has identified a progressive goals roadmap.  This document prioritizes action steps, deadlines, and assignments across multiple departments within the Town.  Click here to read over the proposed action plan(s) for 2021-2023.  

For a single page recap of actions completed in 2020, please click here to review the Progressive Goals Scorecard.

Local development is evident and visible upon our island. Nevertheless, it is critical that we maintain an exceptional quality of life and make the least amount of impact upon our environment.  The Town of Emerald is blessed with an array of natural amenities, we must work together to protect and maintain these gifts.

Posted by Anna Smith Wednesday, August 4, 2021 2:21:00 PM Categories: News