Communities within the Tar-Pamlico River Basin, North Carolina have a long history of flooding during major rainfall and hurricane events. That’s why the Army Corps of Engineers is launching a feasibility study for the Tar-Pamlico River Basin to figure out how to reduce flood risks and increase resiliency, then recommend combinations of structural (i.e. levees), non-structural (i.e. buyouts and relocation) and nature-based (i.e. restored wetlands) measures to decrease flooding.
“We know that hurricanes are getting worse, flooding is impacting more people in the basin, whether from hurricanes or rain events, and participation in process is the first step in implementing flood-mitigating measures,” said Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell.
Sound Rivers, and FEMA, too, recognize that nature-based solutions are the best way to go —massively expensive, years-long flood mitigation projects like dams and reservoirs are not. Natural infrastructure solutions, such as restoring and constructing new wetlands, restoring streams, reconnecting flood plains and planting trees along the banks of waterways can all store and slow water to make landscapes more flood-resistant.
Next week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hosting a series of virtual meetings about the study. Each meeting is based on geographic location within the river basin, and viewers will hear the Corps of Engineers’ planning process, about the study progress to-date as it pertains to various focus areas, and will be able to ask questions about next steps and the timeline of the study.
More importantly, they’re seeking input from those who’ve been impacted by flooding — which is, essentially, all of us in eastern North Carolina, whether the impact came by way of a flooded residence or business or travel delays because roads were underwater.
“This is your opportunity to voice your concerns about what you’re seeing in your community and what you’d like to see moving forward to address flooding concerns,” Howell said.
Sound Rivers’ staff will attend these virtual meetings and are preparing comments to submit. We will be sending out an Action Alert next week, which will make it super-easy for you to submit your own comments, as well. Be on the lookout for that email!
The virtual meetings, organized by geographic area are to be held from March 22 to 31. Each meeting can be accessed via WebEx conference at https://usace1.webex.com/usace1/j.php?MTID=m00ce03770c09508b30d3a7d9f851d5d5
To join by phone, call 1-844-800-2712 and use the access code 199-053-6905.
March 22, 6-7:30 p.m.
The town of Louisburg and Franklin County virtual meeting. There is no in-person option for this meeting.
March 23, 6-7:30 p.m.
The city of Rocky Mount, town of Nashville, and Nash County virtual meeting.
In-person meeting: Nashville Council Chambers, 114 W. Church St., Nashville. (Face masks are required.)
*Community members can view a recording of the meeting at the Braswell Memorial Library, 727 N. Grace St., Rocky Mount.
March 25, 6-7:30 p.m.
The town of Tarboro and Edgecombe County virtual meeting.
In-person meeting: Edgecombe County Administration Building Carmon Auditorium, 201 St. Andrew St., Tarboro. The in-person option is limited to 10 participants; reserve a seat by calling 252-641-7834 prior to the meeting. (Face masks are required.)
March 30, 6-7:30 p.m.
The city of Greenville and Pitt County virtual meeting. There is no in-person option for this meeting.
*A recording of the presentation will air later using the city of Greenville’s government access channel.
March 31, 6-7:30 p.m.
The city of Washington and Beaufort County virtual meeting.
In-person meeting: Beaufort County Community College Library Building 5, 5337 U.S. Highway 264 East, Washington. The in-person option is limited to eight participants; reserve a seat by calling 252-940-6282 prior to the meeting. (Face masks are required.)
A campus map can be found at www.beaufortccc.edu/about/campus.
The public can submit comments via email to email@example.com or through the electronic comment form at www.lrp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Planning-Programs-Project-Management/Tar-Pamlico-Feasibility-Study/. Comments can also be submitted by mail to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District Planning and Environmental Branch, 1000 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Comments must be submitted or postmarked no later than April 23.